Americans are bracing for a winter full of pain as the cost of electricity and heating continues to surge.
According to a forecast from the nonprofit National Energy Assistance Directors Association, first reported by CBS, the average household will pay about 17 percent more this winter compared to last winter to heat their home, marking a 10-year high of $1,202 per property.
“This would be the second year in a row of major price increases,” the forecast states. “Between 2020–21 and 2021–23, the cost of home energy would increase by more than 35 percent.”
“Of even greater concern, the total cost of home heating would increase from $127.9 billion to an estimated $149.9 billion,” the forecast states. “The additional costs will fall hardest on lower-income households.”
Electric bills are also set to rise across the country, with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasting the U.S. residential price of electricity will average 14.8 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2022, up 7.5 percent from a year ago.
Rising energy costs have already plagued American households this year as the country also battles with an inflation rate of 8.3 percent, as of August. Year over year, energy is up 23.8 percent, while food is up 11. 4 percent, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has continued to raise interest rates in an attempt to cool off red-hot inflation and is widely expected to roll out another aggressive interest-rate hike this week.
Adding to the woes are lower U.S. natural gas inventories. Working gas in storage was 2,771 billion cubic feet (bcf) as of Sept. 9, 2022, according to estimates from the EIA, well below the five-year average of 3,125 bcf.
The EIA also anticipates higher-than-average natural gas prices globally this winter, as demand in the United States, Europe, and Asia remains high and inventories remain low.
‘There Is a Lot of Pain’
The Biden administration struck a deal with European Union (EU) leaders in March to send an additional 15 bcc of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU by the end of this year amid sanctions on Russian energy.
Mark Wolfe, the executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, told CBS: “There is a lot of pain. This is the second year of high home heating prices. Across the board, low- and middle-income families are suffering.”
Although gasoline prices have declined since soaring to new heights in June, consumers are still paying over 14 percent more than a year prior when filling up at the pump, according to the latest data from AAA.
“What we are seeing is an increasing rate of home energy prices on top of high gasoline prices, and that’s causing more low- and middle-income families to make choices in how they pay their expenses,” Wolfe said.
Despite mounting fears ahead of this winter, the Biden administration has continued to downplay the cost-of-living crisis that’s affecting American households on a daily basis, and forcing many to cut down on spending on essential goods like food.
In an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” earlier this week, the President stated that “the inflation rate month to month was just … an inch, hardly at all,” and that people who are shocked by the cost of their grocery bills need to “put this in perspective.”
“Guess what we are? We’re in a position where, for the last several months, it hasn’t spiked. It has just barely … it’s been basically even,” Biden said of the 8.3 percent inflation rate in August, although he acknowledged that the rate was “not good news.”