According to new reports a large number of American households are behind on their utility payments. This is in part caused by the rising energy costs. Many fear that a mass power shutoff may also be nearing due to outstanding debts.
The National Energy Assistance Directors Association has noted that more than 20 million U.S. households have fallen behind in paying utility bills. Mark Wolfe, the NEADA executive director has also called these numbers “historic.”
According to his statement, what is even scarier is that the collective debt has doubled since 2019. At the time it was $8.1 billion, while now it sits at $16 billion, meaning that the average delinquent bill is now $792 instead of $403.
The increase in energy prices is believed to be one of the driving forces behind this increase in debts. The cost of natural gas alone has increased by over 30.5% within one year according to statistics compiled by the Labor Department. With winter fast approaching, many experts are worried that more households are bound to suffer from the price increase.
Andrew Lipow, president of energy consulting firm Lipow Oil Associates, also spoke about this in the past week saying that consumers should expect to see an increase in their heating bills this winter as gas prices are double what they were last year.
On top of the increased gas prices, inflation is at a 40-year high, and while wages are also increasing, they are not doing so fast enough to balance the increased spending on groceries and other necessities.
This is why many Americans are now facing the reality that their utilities might shut off due to their overdue energy bills.