It has been over a year and a half since the pandemic shook the lives of people in the U.S., putting millions out of work. As a result, many have been unable to pay their rent, mortgages, or utility bills. Consequently, utility debt in the U.S. has more than doubled since the pandemic, rising from $12 billion to an estimated $32 billion at the end of 2020.
Moratoriums on shut offs have helped some, but only Washington DC, New York, New Jersey, and Wyoming still have them in place. And to make matters worse, utility costs are climbing, and energy use is expected to go up as winter approaches. The rise in prices could mean that the cost to heat someone’s home may increase from an average of $572, to $750 over the same winter months. That’s 30% more!
Already the number of people that report struggling to cover usual expenses is more than one in four. So utility debt is just one extra burden, while utility shut offs are devastating. And with the winter months approaching, things are bound to get worse.
Nothing real has been proposed to solve this crisis, even though it affects millions of people. Working and poor people weren’t the ones who created this crisis, we shouldn’t have to pay for it!