Aug 29, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Millions of Americans struggling to keep lights on

Illustration of a giant lightswitch over a map and flag of the United States 

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tens of millions of Americans are struggling to keep the lights on.

Driving the news: The rising cost of natural gas is driving up the price of heating and electricity — and some 20 million U.S. households are behind on their utility payments, Bloomberg reports.

  • That's about 1 in 6 homes in America.
  • Now, as several states end pandemic-era moratoriums on shutting off power, households that continue to fall behind on their bills could see shutoffs.

What's happening: The average price for electricity was up about 15% last month, compared with July 2021. That's the steepest year-over-year price jump in electricity since 2006, per Bloomberg.

  • The price spikes are far worse in Europe, where imported Russian natural gas is slowing to a trickle because of the war in Ukraine.

What's next: Expect electricity prices in the U.S. to climb even higher in the coming months, as Europe's energy crisis deepens, Axios climate and energy reporter Andrew Freedman notes.

Go deeper: Europe's soaring energy costs push leaders to consider major steps

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