Wikinvest Wire

Disturbing data of the day - Utility shutoffs

Friday, December 18, 2009

It seems that, with unemployment high and households continuing to have difficulty in making ends meet, more and more of them were unable to pay their utility bills this year, as detailed in this WSJ report on the latest government data.

The number of households that had their utility service disconnected for nonpayment rose 5% in fiscal 2009, despite a doubling of federal emergency-bill assistance and lower utility rates in many parts of the country.

According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, some 4.3 million U.S. households were disconnected for nonpayment in fiscal year 2009, as federal assistance more than doubled to $5.1 billion.

More than 8 million households got emergency-bill assistance in 2009, up nearly a third from the 6.1 million in 2008.

"The federal government is taking over more of the burden from utilities," said Mark Wolfe, director of the association, which includes state officials who distribute federal energy-assistance funds. He added that if the economy doesn't recover, nine million to 10 million households may seek aid in 2010.
Not surprisingly, utility shutoffs are increasingly common in California where, apparently, there are some problems with "advanced" meters that tend to err on the side of "shutting off" rather than "staying on".

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John S said...

But at least in California if your electricity is cut off you won't be dead before daybreak. It's been below zero here in the northeast day and night. We're never more than a couple gallons of oil from freezing to death.

Anonymous said...

If they really want to help, eliminate the property tax. Then people would have enough to pay for essentials.

Anonymous said...

"We're never more than a couple gallons of oil from freezing to death."

Isn't it amazing that after 200,000 years of evolution and advanced civilization, this is where we ended up!

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