The last thing consumers want to hear is an increase in power costs this summer following the news last week of rising threats of rolling blackouts across half of the US.
Tight supplies of natural gas, crude, and coal have pushed up residential electricity rates this year. A nationwide weather outlook for this summer forecasts extreme heat — all of this will force households to crank up their air conditions, resulting in oversized power demand that could stress national grids.
Bloomberg cites new data from Barclays Plc that says monthly power bills could be 40% more than last year’s. The US Energy Information Administration expects retail residential electricity rates to increase the most since 2008.
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Miami households spent 38% more on energy in April than a year ago. Power prices in the state have jumped due to the rising cost of natgas.
“Our continued overreliance on gas only sets us up for these burdensome and unnecessary rate increases.
“This business model is unsustainable, and it’s hurting people,” said Natalia Brown of Catalyst Miami, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.
Besides Miami, parts of Hawaii, Dallas, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco recorded the highest increases in retail electricity costs last month.
Barclays analyst Srinjoy Banerjee said the average residential power bills averaged $122 in April. He pointed out that power bills could raise another $49 due to natgas prices soaring over $8 per million British thermal units.
Consumers can’t escape the inflation storm that only suggests a summer of hell is ahead. Gasoline and diesel prices are at a record, food prices are screaming higher, homes and cars are unaffordable, and real wage growth is negative.
Banerjee said the inflation burden “disproportionately falls on lower-income groups.”
In California, higher costs for electricity and less reliable electric grids mean consumers will pay on average 25% more this summer, according to Cisco DeVries, chief executive officer of OhmConnect Inc., which helps households save money by remotely adjusting thermostats.
The cost of everything is rising and has pushed consumers to the brink. Many have maxed out credit cards and drained critical savings to survive this terrible economic backdrop of what appears to be stagflation which could quickly morph into a Federal Reserve-induced recession due to aggressive interest rate hikes.
Some Americans could get a nasty dose of high inflation and power blackouts, similar to life in Venezuela.
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