Here's how much your summer cooling costs could increase as mercury rises


High temperatures will do more than beat down American bodies this summer: They’ll hit their wallets hard, too. 

The financial burden on families for keeping their homes cool will jump nearly 8% across the United States, from an average cost of $661 from June through September to $719, according to projections from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) and the Center for Energy Poverty, and Climate (CEPC).  

That’s nearly $60 more in electricity costs for households across the U.S. this summer. The increased heat will have an even more acute impact on cooling costs in the Mid-Atlantic, East South Central and Pacific regions, where energy prices will increase by up to 12% compared to one year ago. The rising cost of cooling your home is one of the myriad impacts of climate change on Americans, and illustrates some of the financial implications of global warming for individuals and families. 

Increased energy costs are becoming unaffordable for low-income families in particular. Nearly 20% of very low income families don’t have air conditioning at all, making being inside their homes in summer downright dangerous, given high temperatures, according to the NEADA and CEPC report.

“In less extreme situations, a family can ride out a hot day by opening their windows, taking a cool shower, and hoping it cools down at night. But when the heat persists for weeks, or the outside air is dangerous, opening a window will only make things worse,” the report’s authors write. 

Remedies offered by the report’s authors include providing bill payment assistance to families who need it. For example, in Connecticut, eligible families receive a 50% discount on utility bills. Still, 33 states have no summer protections at all for families. The report’s authors also argue for implementing “shut-off protections” that prohibit utility companies from shutting off cooling services during heat waves on households that fall behind on their utility bills.




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