An updated Indiana University study tracking energy insecurity in Indiana found that a growing number of Hoosiers are having difficulties paying their energy bills, a situation made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and lapsing protections.
The IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs study by professors Sanya Carley and David Konisky asked Hoosiers and other people in the US with low incomes about their ability to meet their household energy demands.
They found that nearly 4 million Americans, including a disproportionate amount of Blacks and Hispanics, could be having trouble meeting those demands, a situation known as energy insecurity.
Between May and August, 20% of people who responded to the survey said they could not pay their energy bill, 15% said they received a shutoff notice and 7% had their service disconnected.
Based on the responses received, the researchers said up about 3.8 million Americans could currently be facing energy insecurity.
“This is an issue that is quite prevalent and is kind of an unappreciated form of material hardship,” said Konisky. “The big inference to make from these results is that the pandemic and the economic dislocation that has resulted has really exacerbated energy insecurity. People who may chronically be suffering from this problem are more likely to face exacerbated problems, and there are probably new people who are being brought into an energy insecurity state.”
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