“Energy Burden” On Low-Income, African American, & Latino Households Up To Three Times As High As Other Homes, More Energy Efficiency Needed

Data Gauge Impact of Energy Costs on Low-Income, African-American, Latino, and Renter Residents; Low-Income Households in Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, New Orleans, Providence, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Cleveland Suffer Heaviest “Energy Burden”.

An “energy burden” review of 48 major U.S. metropolitan areas finds that low-income households devote up to three times as much income to energy costs as do other, higher-income households. The new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) coalition also finds that African-American and Latino households spend disproportionate amounts of their income on energy and that more energy efficiency measures would help close the gap by at least one-third.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Voces Verdes participated with ACEEE and EEFA in today’s release of the report, which is available online at http://aceee.org/research-report/u1602.

Key findings from “Lifting the High Energy Burdens in America’s Largest Cities: How Energy Efficiency Can Improve Low-Income and Underserved Communities” include the following:

  • On average, low-income households pay 7.2 percent of household income on utilities – more than three times the amount that higher income households pay (2.3 percent).
  • Energy burdens were found to be greatest for low-income households in the following 10 major cities:Memphis (13.2 percent of income), Birmingham (10.9 percent), Atlanta (10.2 percent), New Orleans (9.8 percent), Providence (9.5 percent), Pittsburgh (9.4 percent), Dallas (8.8 percent), Philadelphia (8.8 percent), Kansas City (8.5 percent), and Cleveland (8.5 percent).
  • For African-American households, the cities with the greatest energy burdens were: Memphis, Pittsburgh,New Orleans, Kansas City, Birmingham, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Atlanta.
  • Latino households experience the greatest energy burdens in: Memphis, Providence, Philadelphia,Kansas City, Atlanta, Birmingham, Phoenix, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Detroit.
  • If low-income housing stock were brought up to the efficiency level of the average US home, this would eliminate 35 percent of the average low-income energy burden of low-income households. For African-American and Latino households, 42 percent and 68 percent of the excess energy burden, respectively, would be eliminated.
  • The five cities with the lowest median energy burdens for all households were San Francisco (1.4 percent), San Jose (1.8 percent), Seattle (2.1 percent), Washington, DC (2.1 percent), and San Diego(2.3 percent).

About Sabina Covo

Sabina started her career as a journalist in 1999. She graduated with a Communications Degree from Florida International University and has worked as a journalist, TV and Radio Anchor and Reporter for different stations and print publications in Latin America and the US including Caracol, W Radio, Austrian National Television, America Teve, Canal sur, NBC and Telemundo. She served as the director of Media Relations for Gordon Reyes and Associates in Miami and was nominated for a Raising Star Award by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. She has a Building our Community award for her collaboration with the March of Dimes, and is part of Sharing for Kids. Sabina is a columnist for El Nuevo Herald in Miami, and a journalist and TV personality for America Teve.

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