Wednesday, August 26, 2009
You have to wonder what kind of stories we'll be hearing this winter as we close in on the two-year mark for the current recession, a recession that is likely to be declared over between now and the time that that temperatures drop and heating bills come due.
This USA Today story offers an early look at what might be in store.
More Americans are having their power shut off as the weak economy makes it harder to pay bills.Hopefully, it will be an unusually mild winter.
"We see record numbers of households becoming disconnected or in danger of disconnection," says Mark Bixby, energy director of Rockford, Ill. Five years ago, his office distributed federal funds annually to about 300 households that had their power cut off. Last year, it was 1,834 households, and the number is likely to go up this year, he says: "It's families that can't find work."
ComEd, which supplies electricity to 3.8 million customers in northern Illinois, says it has disconnected more this year than last but declined to provide specifics. The utility saw a 14% increase in bills 60 days late in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, spokeswoman Kim Johnson says.
Chris Cox, 30, of Tucson, called after he got a cutoff notice. The father of four says he's two months behind and owes $400.
Cox, who works in ad sales, says his commissions have fallen by more than half in four months. "I have family and friends that would have normally been in a position to help, but they aren't able to now," he says. "I don't know what I'm going to do."