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Op-Ed: Air conditioning costs expected to skyrocket this summer

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According to a new report by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA), “The financial burden to families of keeping cool this summer will increase by 7.9% across the nation to an average of $719 from June through September, up from $661 during the same period last year.”

The report, “Summer Residential Cooling Outlook: Residential Electric Utility Expenditures Projected to Reach Record Levels, Highest in 10 years,” begins with this ominous sentence: “Home energy is becoming increasingly unaffordable for low-income families.”

Making matters worse, NEADA notes, “Summer cooling costs are coming right on top of this winter’s higher heating season costs.”

And, “The level of utility consumer debt – the amount consumers owe their utilities – has increased from $17.5 billion in January 2023 to $20.3 billion in December 2023, and NEADA estimates that 16% (21.2 million) of all U.S. households are behind on their energy bills.”

Obviously, this is terrible news for hardworking Americans, most of whom are already struggling to make ends meet under Bidenomics. As of late 2023, 78 percent of Americans said they are living paycheck-to-paycheck, per a payroll.org survey.

Needless to say, it is also yet another economic black mark against the Biden administration. As the report shows, the sudden and steep rise in home energy costs happens to coincide with exactly when Biden entered the White House and launched his war against affordable and reliable energy.

In 2017, the first year of former President Donald Trump’s term, the average U.S. electric bill for June to September was $502. In 2018, it increased slightly to $531. By 2019, it had decreased to $527. By 2020, when most Americans were stuck indoors due to COVID-19 lockdowns and probably using their air conditioning more than ever, the average electric bill for the summer months had increased slightly again to $556.

All told, during the four years of Trump’s presidency, Americans paid, on-average, $2,116 to keep their homes cool and comfortable during the height of summer.

On the other hand, the average electric bill for June to September under Biden has increased substantially. In 2021, Americans paid, on average, $573. In 2022, this jumped to $660. In 2023, it rose slightly to $662. In 2024, as mentioned above, it is expected to surpass $700 for the first time ever. During Biden’s term, Americans will pay, on-average, $2,614 to keep their homes cool and comfortable – nearly $500 more than Trump’s term.

Unfortunately, Biden’s war on affordable and reliable energy has impacted Americans far more than just their air conditioning bills. Since Biden took office, the cost of a gallon of gasoline has doubled and the total cost of energy has increased by 37 percent.

As mentioned in the report, high energy costs have a disproportionate impact on low- and middle-income Americans simply because they spend a higher proportion of their income on electricity, gasoline and other energy-related items. Whereas wealthy Americans have the disposable income to offset these price spikes, hardworking Americans do not have that luxury.

This means low- and middle-income Americans are being forced to make difficult daily decisions in terms of their spending habits. In real life terms, this means they have to constantly consider trade-offs. Can they afford to fill their car with gasoline this week? Or, would that money be better spent on groceries? Do they have enough money to pay the utility bill at the end of the month? Or, has that money already been allocated to pay rent?

These are the actual hardships that Americans are increasingly facing because President Biden foolishly believes that affordable and reliable energy, in the form of fossil fuels, must be replaced with so-called renewable energy. Never mind that wind and solar – Biden’s preferred replacements for oil, natural gas, and coal – are neither economically viable nor scalable.

By the looks of it, Biden is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If he were to abandon his climate change agenda and embrace affordable energy, his donors and left-wing base would go apoplectic. However, if he refuses to acknowledge that his anti-fossil-fuel agenda has made life significantly worse for vast swathes of Americans, he will likely lose precious votes come November.

With less than five months before voters start heading to the polls, it might not even matter at this point. Americans have lived and struggled under Bidenomics for more than three years. They should know that four more years under Biden’s misguided energy policies would likely result in more pain and suffering.

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