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New report warns US households should expect dramatic increase in utility costs: 'Families in America are in a dangerous position'

The sweltering heat will add stress to already-tight budgets.

The sweltering heat will add stress to already-tight budgets.

Photo Credit: iStock

Another hot summer is expected, which means many families will have to dip deeper into their bank accounts as temperatures climb higher. The sweltering heat could add stress to already-tight budgets.

What's happening?

Utility bills are expected to increase by around 8% for many Americans as temperatures soar, according to a report by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association detailed by the Guardian. 

"Due to the unprecedented rise in summer temperatures and higher rates of extreme heat events over the last 10 years, the cost of summer cooling has risen from $476 in 2014 to a predicted $719 in 2024," the NEADA wrote in its report. 

A higher energy bill could be tough for many because many other bills have risen in recent years. As of June, the latest inflation report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed consumer prices increased by 3.3% on a 12-month basis ending in May. 

That is low relative to the 9-10% inflation rate just two years ago, but it is still higher than the 1% to 2% generally considered to be acceptable.

Why is this concerning?

According to U.S. News & World Report, nearly two-thirds of states have no summer shutoff protections, which raises the risk of dangerous health complications for low-income households. As noted by the Guardian, about 11,000 deaths were likely caused by heat last year. The Associated Press notes that is a record number going back to at least 1987.

"Families in America are in a dangerous position where they could be having to sacrifice other aspects of their lives in order to just maintain power," Shelby Green, a researcher at the Energy and Policy Institute, told the Guardian. "There are customers who have mounting utility debt, going into the summer season struggling to keep up with current costs." 

A paper in the National Library of Medicine estimates that "heat-related fatalities and morbidity are grossly undercounted." Additionally, studies have shown that extreme heat disproportionately impacts members of marginalized groups. 

Unfortunately, as temperatures have risen due to human pollution, events like droughts, heat waves, and floods have become more frequent and severe. Our warming planet has even amplified natural weather patterns like El Niño — a phenomenon already linked to extreme weather

What can be done to lower utility bills?

Budderfly is a Connecticut company that provides energy-efficient upgrades and even promises to pay its customers' utility bills if those upgrades don't reduce energy usage. 

Converting old, inefficient systems powered by dirty energy sources to cleaner, more efficient systems can also help you save money. Solar panels and community solar programs, for example, save people significant cash over time and eliminate pollution that contributes to scorching summers and extreme weather.  

Ultimately, everyone can benefit from working to cool down our planet. 

Supporting tree-planting initiatives can help prevent the formation of heat islands, while switching to LED lightbulbs can also reduce harmful pollution and lower electric bills. Unplugging energy vampires is another win-win for your wallet and the planet.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

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