U.S. Electric Bills Expected to Spike This Summer — Community Solar Can Help

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Canva

Americans might get a shock when they see their electric bills this summer, as the cost to keep cool is projected to reach record-breaking levels in the United States in the upcoming months. Community Solar, though, offers savings, with no home equipment or upfront fees required.

Electric bills are expected to reach a total of $719 during the months between June to September 2024, up 7.9% from the $661 total of June to September 2023, according to a June 3 report by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) and the Center for Energy Poverty and Climate (CEPC).

If that prediction holds true, electric bills will set a record, having crept up from $476 in 2014, the report adds.  

The price of fuel, the cost of constructing and maintaining plants and grids, and energy regulations are all contributing to the spike in electric bill levels, according to USA Today. The real culprit, though, is the weather. Heat wave seasons nearly tripled in length between 1960 and 2021, according to Environmental Protection Agency data cited by the NEADA/CEPC report, with increases in northern cities like Seattle and Milwaukee matching increases in southern cities like Phoenix and Baton Rouge.

Plus, 2023 had the hottest summer on record, beating 2022’s high, and experts predict 2024’s summer may be hotter yet: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s calculations suggest there’s a 61% chance 2024 will be the warmest year on record.

Amid record-breaking heat, the amount that consumers owe their utilities rose from $17.5 billion to $20.3 billion between January 2023 and December 2023, with the NEADA estimating that 16% of U.S. households are behind in their energy bills.

Low-income Americans are especially at risk amid rising heat and rising electricity costs, and Congress recently slashed the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding by $2 billion. The NEADA/CEPC report notes that the budget cut has forced states to cut financial assistance to 1 million households and to reduce average cooling benefits. Meanwhile, 33 states have no summer shut-off protections in place, leaving low-income families more susceptible to dangerous heat, the report adds.

Low-income households are also less likely to have rooftop solar. The median income of rooftop solar adopters in the United States was $117,000 in 2022, a level less the 2010 median of $140,000 but still well above the median of all owner-occupied U.S. households in 2022, which was $86,000.

Community Solar can help ease the strain. Community Solar providers like Altus Power connect households with solar projects in their area. Subscribers sign up for a share of a solar project’s energy output.  A project supplies electricity to the local grid and utilities give subscribers solar credits in the form of monthly bill deductions, Subscribers then pay the Community Solar providers for the solar credits at a discounted rate.  

Altus customers, for example, have reduced their annual electricity costs by up to 20%, and there are no upfront fees to join. Because of these savings, Community Solar can come through for U.S. households — and low-income families in particular — who are facing rising heat, rising electricity prices and cutbacks to assistance.

There’s also no equipment to install, making Community Solar accessible to households who don’t own their home, can’t afford rooftop solar systems, or don’t have suitable rooftops. If you’re interested in subscribing, go to join.altuspower.com to check your eligibility and start your application.

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