Energy insecurity is a growing public health threat among low-income populations in the United States. Prior research has shown that energy insecurity is associated with adverse health effects and can lead people to engage in risky coping strategies. Here we evaluate rates of energy insecurity, which factors contribute to it, and how the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problem. We show that energy insecurity is highly prevalent among households at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. We further show that Black and Hispanic households are more likely to experience energy insecurity and face utility disconnection, as are households with young children, individuals that require electronic medical devices and those in dwellings with inefficient or poor conditions. These conditions exist under normal circumstances, and the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have exacerbated the overall incidence of energy insecurity.

Nature Energy Vol 6 nº 2

Trevor Memmott, Sanya Carley, Michelle Graff, David M. Konisky

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