Research

Energy insecurity and COVID

Energy insecurity, or the inability to pay one’s energy bills, is a major problem facing millions of American households. In this work, we seek to define the challenges associated with energy insecurity, identify the factors that contribute to it, and evaluate ways in which energy insecure households cope with their conditions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced an unprecedented challenge for households across the U.S. that already struggle to pay their energy bills. We are currently studying the way in which households under 200 percent of the federal poverty line are experiencing energy insecurity throughout the pandemic through a four-wave survey, as funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Environmental Resilience Institute, and the Indiana University Office of the Vice President of Research.

Energy is a basic need, and many Americans are struggling to afford it in the COVID-19 recession.

Percentage of respondents who reported being unable to pay an energy bill from late April through late May of 2020, by demographic group. (FPL = Federal poverty level)  The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Data Source: Survey of Household Energy Insecurity in the Time of COVID