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Record summer temperatures create power affordability problems

Texans are not only feeling the heat this summer, but energy prices are also scorching our pocketbooks. There may be little reprieve in coming summers.

TEXAS, USA — We are all seeing higher power bills because of what feels like unrelenting heat. 

Eventually, cooler temperatures will arrive, cooling us down and dropping our power bills. Yet, that relief, might not arrive for a while. Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist with Texas A&M University, said August, September, and October all look hot.

“It’s still going to be hot and dry,” Dessler said about the next three months.

He forecasts coming summers are also likely to be warmer.

“These kinds of years are going to occur more frequently because the climate is warming,” Dessler said.

Hot temperatures are a big driver of high power bills. The average Texas household is paying $1,000 more a year for power this year research from the Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute shows.

“The cost of power this year is the highest ever,” said Bobuchi Ken-Opurum, the institute’s director of research.

That puts financial pressure on low-income households, including people of color, single parents, and the elderly.

“Many households are forced to choose between keeping the lights on, paying rent or their mortgage, and putting food on the table for their families,” Ken-Opurum said.

She said 34% of Texas households are choosing to buy less food to keep air conditioners running. Plus, 25% of Texas households are rationing power by keeping their homes at an unsafe and unhealthy temperature to lower their bills.

There is no one way to reduce power bills, but here are some tips:

  • Unplug any unused electronics
  • Set your thermostat at 77 degrees and use fans to further help with cooling
  • Seal any cracks around windows and doors to keep cool air in
  • Turn off unused lights

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