Warning! Utility Bill May Jump

Bloomberg reported that ratepayers should open their utility bills with caution. The news is certainly, “shocking!”

Reporters Will Wade and Naureen S. Malik chronicled the costly energy situation facing Americans across the country.

Inflation has been leading to some of the highest gas prices we have seen in decades. Electricity rates are expected to climb even further as well this summer due to tighter supplies of natural gas and coal, and even because of the drought on the west coast.

New York State and Governor Kathy Hochul are currently creating an energy plan that will not only keep energy rates high but stay high for the long run. With the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is expected to be almost 100 percent carbon neutral by 2040. The way to achieve this, according to the current bill draft is to go all electric, while simultaneously getting rid of other carbon neutral sources of power like nuclear and natural gas.

New York is not even remotely close to being able to support the amount of electricity that would be necessary in order to power the new electric bus system in New York City. How can it expect to power the entire state?

The Bloomberg article offers a similar warning. It says, “US households are about to get some unwelcome mail this summer: some of the highest power bills they’ve ever seen.”

It explains that “Residential electricity rates have been surging for months and are poised to climb even higher this summer on a combination of tight supplies of natural gas and coal, an unrelenting drought in the Western US, and a nationwide forecast for extreme heat. Barclays Plc calculates that monthly bills will be more than 40% higher than last year’s, and projections from the US Energy Information Administration show this year’s retail residential rates rising the most since 2008.”

According to the article, for example, Miami households are currently spending 38% more on energy when compared to only a year prior. When energy companies, like NextEra Energy Inc. one of Florida’s biggest energy providers, experience rate increases that cost is inevitably passed on to their customers.

The AARP commented that, “Higher bills are a significant issue for older people living on fixed incomes.” The organization added that many are concerned not only about rising costs, but also having their power shut off if they can’t afford to pay their bills.

Moratoriums instituted during the pandemic to bar utilities from shutting off power to households for nonpayment have expired. Proposed energy bans in New York and worsening trend permit denials for energy infrastructure upgrades makes a bad situation worse. This includes federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program being drained from record usage during wintertime. Specific to New York, one utility reported that ratepayers were in arrears at least $1.8 billion.

“We in the United States—and California in particular—are facing something of a perfect storm of higher costs for electricity and less reliable electric grids,” Cisco DeVries, chief executive officer of OhmConnect Inc. shared with Bloomberg. The company helps households reduce electric bills by remotely adjusting their thermostats.

This surge in pricing on energy is not only a New York issue. Prices in Dallas jumped by 28% and Minneapolis prices got hiked by 27%. Many other major metropolitan centers are also seeing double digit percentage jumps in their utility bills as well in the last year.

The question is, what is being done to lower the cost of electricity?

The answer appears to be nothing – nothing is being done to reduce the burden of ever rising electric bills. The New York Post reported that it appears that a 12% rate increases is being planned for New Yorkers.

These rate increases are disproportionate in their impact on the population as well. The people that it will impact the most, those from lower incomes and older, retired generation who live on fixed incomes. If people cannot afford these higher energy bills, they risk their power being shut off. Even if they could afford their new more expensive energy, the system itself is becoming more unstable as more strain is placed on the energy grid. There could be power outages and black outs whether or not you can afford to pay your utility bill next month.

For real, sensible energy policy solutions to build an energy bridge to a 100% reliable, renewable electric grid, read our perspective here.