April 13th's Consumer Price Index report showed that consumer prices overall averaged a 2.6 percent increase during the twelve months ending in March. And the report also showed that electricity prices — residential electric rates — averaged a virtually identical 2.5 percent increase during that same period. Economists would say that the real inflation-adjusted increase is thus approximately zero.
The Census Bureau reports that for the two week period ending the first of March, 13.9 percent of all American adults over the age of eighteen are now finding it to be very difficult to pay household expenses. Including utility bills presumably.
Another 18.5 percent of American adults are now finding it to be somewhat difficult to pay household expenses. Adding these two categories together, the household bills of nearly a third of American adults are very or somewhat difficult to pay.
Lead image: © Can Stock Photo / gvictoria
Better news on electric bill affordability comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In January, residential electric bills were just 1.29 percent of Americans’ personal consumption expenditures in total. That’s lower than in January of 2018, when electricity was 1.40 percent, and lower than in January 2019, when electricity was 1.32 percent.
However, it was higher than in January 2020, when electricity was at an all-time low, at 1.17 percent. This is a direct result of our pandemic world.