New data shows a staggering number of American households are now behind on their utility bills, largely due to rising energy costs, and a major blackout is imminent. causing concern.
The National Energy Assistance Director Association says more than 20 million U.S. homes are behind on their utility bills, and NEADA executive director Mark Wolfe said the figure was “historic.” I’m here.
The NEADA chief told FOX Business that the surge in total outstandings, which stood at about $8.1 billion at the end of 2019, was even more alarming, and has now surged to about $16 billion. Average delinquent bills increased from $403 to $792.
Skyrocketing inflation has led more Americans to pay salaries, even as wages rose 5.1%
The main driver of utility debt is high energy prices. The cost of natural gas, which is used to power homes so people can stay cool in summer and warm in winter, rose 30.5% in July from a year earlier, according to the Labor Department.
Energy demand is high in the summer, but experts say heating costs will increase this winter.
Natural gas constraints could cause more ‘pain at the pump’ this winter: expert
“Consumers will pay more on their utility bills this winter,” Andrew Ripow, president of energy consulting firm Ripow Oil Associates, wrote this week. And most people would be shocked, whether they were using household kerosene.”
“Natural gas futures prices are now more than double what they were a year ago,” he continued.
The latest consumer price index shows inflation overall remains at a 40-year high. Wages are rising, too, but they haven’t kept up with rising prices that eat into Americans’ paychecks, forcing more consumers to make trade-offs and prioritize spending on essentials like groceries. .
Now, an unprecedented number of Americans are unable to pay their overdue home utility bills and may face power outages.
CLICK HERE TO GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO
“Looking ahead, all signs point to a continued increase in delinquencies,” Wolfe said, as the pandemic-era moratorium on utility shutdowns expires and natural gas prices are set to continue rising. ,” he said.