The hidden toll of energy insecurity

From Laura Bliss, of The Atlantic Monthly’s CityLab:

An estimated 16 million U.S. households face this hardship, unable to afford electricity and stay warm or cool enough. Energy costs are known to have an outsize economic impact on the poor: It’s been estimated that the bottom 20 percent of U.S. earners spend roughly 10 percent of their monthly income on electricity, which is more than seven times the share of income paid by the top 20 percent.

But the physiological, behavioral, and psychological effects of what it’s like to struggle for sufficient household energy aren’t as well recognized by poverty researchers. “This expense and experience has largely been ignored, to the detriment of families dealing with this crisis every day,” says Diana Hernandez, a professor of socio-medical sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

And thanks, Kimberley, for the link.

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One response to “The hidden toll of energy insecurity

  1. An interesting article, but a somewhat incomplete picture of the energy cost burden imposed upon American households. Electricity expenditures are only one factor affecting households’ energy cost burden.

    And if the solution to this problem involves “bringing the clean energy economy into everyone’s homes— regardless of income”, an “inclusive clean energy economy” must, necessarily, actually exist. It doesn’t. And even if it did, where’s the evidence it would be any more “affordable” than what is currently in place? In order to make clean energy a reality in Actually Existing America™, it has to be profitable. Because energy is a commodity. With a marketplace. Controlled by people who get their cut before anybody gets any energy.

    Capitalism,…what a concept.

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