A Cruel, Cool Summer

This is a guest post from Deb Whitman, AARP’s Executive Vice President of Policy

As we watch the thermometer creep up to temperatures that make us perspire just thinking about them, this summer could end up as a particularly cruel, burdensome one for seniors and others who have trouble when it comes to paying for cooling and other energy costs.

According to a new report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, average residential electricity costs have increased by more than 42 percent between 2002 and 2012 and seniors over 65 in the Western South Central geographic area in the United States are projected to owe, on average, in the vicinity of $335 just for their June cooling costs.  The report, “Summer Cooling Costs and Older Households,” details the fact that the continued high cost of electricity will result in many older consumers receiving high electric bills during the summer cooling season.

June’s estimated cooling costs throughout the United States.

This report comes at the heels of another report AARP’s Multi-State Utility Campaign released earlier this month as the thermometer began to rise that details new loopholes utility companies have successfully used around the country to sneak rate increases past regulators and lawmakers.

Additionally, and likely not by coincidence the Associated Press released a new poll that shows “Nearly 9 in 10 people said they had taken some action in the last year to save energy, with those making less money and on a tighter budget saying it was more important to make their homes more efficient or save money on energy.”

This year AARP helped 10.4 million 50+ Americans save more than $440 million in home energy savings as a result of our efforts.  Even though the summer heat could put a test to the fixed incomes so many depend upon in retirement, AARP’s work will continue to stop unnecessary fees, surcharges and other rate hikes by utility companies across the nation.

For practical ways to save on your own home energy costs and beat the heat, see AARP’s  12 Ways to Stay Cool and Save Money,  along with 18 Ways to Save on Your Utility Costs.

Photo Credit: Cayusa via Flickr