At least two things have happened to affect people’s ability to pay their energy bills since the onset of COVID-19. And in Texas – the state where most people struggle with energy bills – another thing has done.
Across the country, millions of people are still out of work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7.4 million people were unemployed in October. In addition, the cost of most forms of energy used to heat and cool homes has increased. Natural gas prices in the United States have doubled this year, and crude oil prices are on the rise even more.
To measure the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on American life, the US Census Bureau began to conduct the Household pulse survey in April 2020. A number of other federal agencies are participating – Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Defense, Energy Information Administration, Department of Health and Human Services , Department of Housing and Urban Development, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, National Center for Education Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and Economic Research Service from the USDA.
The investigation is reported in waves, called weeks. The current âweekâ, week 39, covers the period September 29, 2021 to October 11, 2021. Data is reported by state and major metropolitan areas.
Topics covered include changes in education, childcare interruptions, job loss, remote working, if people have enough to eat, if people have been vaccinated, if they can pay mortgages or rent; and if people are unable to pay their energy bills. The latter reports the number and percentage of adults in households who have not been able to pay an entire energy bill in the past 12 months.
The state where most people struggle with energy bills is Texas, where 27.9% of adults lived in households that were unable to pay an energy bill in full. This compares to a national average of 20.1%. The investigation does not give a reason. However, a huge winter storm that hit the state in February caused the price of electricity in the state to soar.
In its Winter Fuels Outlook, the EIA has planned that nearly half of American households that heat primarily with natural gas will spend an average of 30% more than they spent last winter. If the winter is 10% colder than average, this figure would rise to 50% more, and if the winter is 10% warmer than average, the figure would drop to 22% more. The EIA made similar predictions for electricity, propane and oil. These are the coldest places in America today.
On the other end of the spectrum of people who can’t pay their energy bills is Minnesota, with the lowest national rate of 11.3% of adults living in households that can’t pay their bills. of energy. Ironically, it is one of the coldest states in the country. Here’s how global warming affects every state.
Click here to see the state where people cannot pay their energy bills