By: Katie Pyzyk
American households spend an average of 3% of their income on energy bills. And energy insecurity — the inability to meet basic household energy needs over time — is gaining attention as a major equity issue. Examining energy burden gives an idea of energy affordability and which groups could most benefit from energy justice and energy affordability policies and investments.
The energy burden is estimated to be even worse now for the named communities due to the pandemic and recession.
“Energy costs existed before this current moment, but the pandemic and recession are straining family budgets right now. Black communities in particular, and other communities of color, have been hardest hit by job losses and the health impact of the pandemic,” said Ariel Drehobl, senior research associate at ACEEE. “Everyone needs power right now and in this unique time, a lot of people do not have jobs or means of income to meet that need.”
The pandemic has disproportionately affected Black communities and communities of color in cities across the country. Black Americans are not more susceptible to the disease, but rather they are more likely to have preexisting conditions that make them more susceptible to contracting an illness. Living in neighborhoods experiencing disinvestment or under-investment leads to lack of quality healthcare, healthy food, reliable transit, walkable streets and green space.
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