Record-breaking summer temperatures in the southern US have been pushing up electricity consumption by households, resulting in skyrocketing energy bills, according to government data cited by OilPrice.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report says the average American household typically spends about $262 a year on air conditioning, but those costs have gone as high as $525 in the hot and humid southeast.

In early July, the US National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) estimated that home energy costs this summer would increase by nearly 12% to an average of $578, up from $517 last summer. The southwest central region paid the most on average at $706, and the Pacific Coast paid the least at $499.

Data shows that nearly 90% of US households use air conditioning (AC), with two-thirds relying on central AC or a central heat pump as their main AC equipment. In 2020, the Midwest Census Region and South Census Region reportedly had the highest percentages of households using AC, at 92% and 93%, respectively.

“My sense is that we will have record cooling costs this summer,” said NEADA Executive Director Mark Wolfe, as quoted by USA Today. Those costs are “not as a result of prices but as a result of increased demand to address high temperatures,” explained the official for the association, which advocates for programs that help low-income families pay utilities…RT

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