Data: The Conversation; Chart: Axios Visuals

A substantial number of low-income households are having difficulty paying their energy bills during the COVID-19 pandemic — with families of color and those with young children especially hard hit, according to recent Indiana University research.

The big picture: YouGov conducted a survey of 2,381 respondents from low-income households in May (overall margin of error is about 2%) and found that 13% had been unable to pay an energy bill during the prior month.

  • Another 9% had received an electricity shutoff notice.
  • 4% had their service disconnected.

Why it matters: While many states have temporarily banned utility disconnections during the crisis, a lot of people are nonetheless losing access, according to IU professors Sanya Carley and David Konisky, who describe their research in a new(ish) post at The Conversation.

  • "[E]xtrapolating our findings to the national level suggests that approximately 800,000 low-income households may have recently had their electricity disconnected."
  • They argue Congress should impose a national moratorium on utility shut-offs and boost assistance to help families pay energy bills.

Where it stands: The pandemic response package enacted in March provided another $900 million for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, but Carley and Konisky write this just "scratches the surface" of what's needed.

  • The latest economic package before the Senate includes another $1.5 billion for LIHEAP.

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2020 - World

Prime minister pledges 100% renewable energy generation in New Zealand by 2030

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand, this month. Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

New Zealand's prime minister has pledged to achieve 100% renewable energy in the country by 2030 if her party wins re-election in October.

Why it matters: NZ plunged on Thursday into its worst recession in over 30 years, after its GDP fell 12.2% following two straight quarters of negative growth amid some of the world's toughest pandemic restrictions, though the drop was less than the 23.5% decrease projected in the May budget.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 32,390,204 — Total deaths: 985,302 — Total recoveries: 22,286,345Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m ET: 7,020,967 — Total deaths: 203,481 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,476,600Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.