Energy Burden, Energy Insecurity and Energy Poverty: have been used interchangeably, but for our purposes we will use Energy Burden.
High Energy Burden: when a household spends more than 10% of their annual household income on energy utilities
- heating and cooling systems
- plumbing and electrical systems
- inefficient appliances
Inefficient building insulation and energy technology can cause...
...difficulties regulating home temperature, which can cause...
- overwhelming energy bills
- exposure to extreme temperatures
"Heat of Eat" dilemma:
Households experiencing financial hardship have to prioritize their basic needs
- If utilities are prioritized below food and medicine...
- households fall behind on utility payments
- develop large amounts of debt
- risk electricity and gas shut-offs
There are many reasons why a household is experiencing an energy burden, ranging from unstable employment to billing issues to a fixed income to seasonal variations of energy bills.
Behavioral strategies used to cope and counteract the economic and physical barriers of a high energy burden
- limit energy consumption to minimize costs
- Improve insulation (those who can afford the improvements)
- Using space heaters to compensate for leaky insulation
- Some methods result in higher energy costs
- Energy assistance: limited funds, short term relief that doesn't address the chronic nature of an energy burden
Health and Safety Risks
- Using oven/stove for heat
- Shut-offs: using survival skills such as preparing and storing food without energy.