Americans are paying far too much for their electricity bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American family paid 4% more per kilowatt hour of electricity in November 2019 than in December 2017. This unfortunate reality comes despite the latest drops in natural gas prices. A recent op-ed in Real Clear Energy from the Lexington Institute’s Paul Steidler demands that states answer for ridiculously high energy bills.
Policymakers and regulators must work to ensure that Americans are not being weighed down by unnecessarily high energy costs. Low income families spend 8.6% of their income each year on energy costs – an astounding three times more than non-low-income households spend according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Steidler describes this challenge, writing:
A September 2018 study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found one in five American households goes without food or medicine at least once a year to stay warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Seven million households face this decision nearly every month.
People should not have to choose between keeping their homes warm or feeding their kids. Natural gas accounts for 35% of our nation’s electricity generation and using this resource drives down the electric bill and lowers usage of fuels such as coal – which emit higher levels of greenhouse gases.
But despite natural gas’ key role in lowering carbon emissions and providing reliable, affordable energy, many consumers cannot get access to this fuel due to energy infrastructure bans. States such as New York are making it difficult on their own residents, or those in New England, as Steidler points out:
New York’s failure to approve new pipelines causes consumers in New York and New England to pay an estimated $2 billion more in energy costs each year, or $233 for a family of four.
There are many factors affecting each state that determine what its retail price of electricity will be. These include renewable energy purchase mandates as well as the hidden taxes and infrastructure costs.
Supporting natural gas production and infrastructure development is more important now than ever and is crucial to ensuring affordable energy for households across America.
Pipelines – the safest, most cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly form of natural gas transit – can help ensure electricity costs remain affordable for American families. Policymakers and legislators must work together to ensure they are continuing to support the pipeline network – promoting affordable energy for all.