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Inflation effects: Over 20 million US households are behind on bills

Inflation has hit us all, and you are not alone in the struggle. More than 20 million Americans are behind on their bills.

person counting money representing inflation

Inflation has been on the rise for several years now, and it becomes more apparent every day. The rising cost of groceries has families clipping coupons more now than in the entire past decade. When gas prices hit the roof just a few months ago, people were feeling trapped in their homes simply because they couldn’t afford to drive their cars and the cost of an Uber just doesn’t seem worth it.

Rent has also been a hot topic regarding inflation, where in some cities, people are seeing rent hikes upwards of 45%. Making, difficult to pay rent nearly impossible. This goes for businesses too. Small brick-and-mortar businesses have to shut their doors because rent is just too astronomical.

However, inflation is not just extending to food, gas, and rent but also utilities. More than 20 million households across the nation are behind on utility debts. Millions of them are behind more than 60 Days, meaning they could lose their utilities by the next bill date.

News Nation reports,

“A primary source behind the utility debt is a surge in energy prices. Natural gas prices have jumped since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The cost of natural gas was up 30.5% year-over-year in July.”

With the war still waging it’s fair to say inflation doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down.

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On top of that, all the protections regarding utilities that were in place during the pandemic are also running out. The city of Austin utilities, the biggest provider of utilities to the capital of Texas, had Pandemic procedures in place to offset the household cost by waving late fees and providing more lenient payment arrangements.

Since May 2021, that relief was discontinued and services were cut off for those still trying to catch up. This has been the standard across the nation where utility relief now is scarce and hard to find.

The need for natural gas to power our homes and businesses should be taken into question with the rising cost of living. There are other energy alternatives so we don’t have to spend our last pennies on predatory companies fees and earth-polluting gases.

There was so much concern about how people would pay their bills during the pandemic, but their health was understandably more important. While health-related concerns have begun to recede and COVID-19 is becoming a welcome fading memory, the worries left in the wake of the pandemic remain.

Bills are due and now inflation has replaced the pandemic as the nation’s problem. It just doesn’t seem like the everyday American can catch a break. As more of us fall behind on our bills, we are becoming increasingly polarized between those who can keep the lights on and those who cannot.

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A native New Englander who migrated to Austin on a whim, Stephanie Dominique is a freelance copywriter, novelist, and certificate enthusiast. When she's not getting howled at by two dachshunds or inhaling enough sugar to put a giant into shock, she is reading, cooking or writing about her passions.

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