Coronavirus and your utility bills
Many American families are being faced with delinquent bills, especially utility bills. Since being forced to hunker down and stay indoors for months now due to the global pandemic. Alexander Djerassi agrees that a lot has changed, making it difficult for communities to stay on top of bills with new laws put into place and restrictions. President Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue aid package, which will be legislated into law this month, will provide support to some. Comprising $5 billion initiated for communities who need help paying their water and electric bills. As expected, 37 million customers – nearly 1/3 of households, will soon have to face their delinquent utility bills. The fact of the matter is that most Americans are still struggling with lost jobs or reduced incomes. Individuals who have found themselves in this predicament are shifting perspectives such as Paula Desper who told apnews.com “it comes to the point where I look at a bill and either I’m going to pay a bill or I am going to buy food “ said Desper. “ I have two little children, I’ll go without food but my children will not”. After the pandemic, Desper’s hours and income were reduced by half, Her husband’s hours were also cut as well making it difficult to maintain car payments, and eventually the vehicle was repossessed. All of these factors combined with other government financing elected for energy aid since the pandemic began, the total available to help struggling Americans who pay the utilities. Preceding energy bills have transpired, individuals seeking help for past balances of $1000- $2000 especially at restaurants, gyms, and small businesses. Americans have been using 10% more electricity during these lockdowns, which have kept them home additional hours with computers, televisions, electronic devices, and air conditioning staying on and raising utility bills everywhere. Ultimately these unpaid balances can also be a loss for utility companies themselves. Most of these delinquent bills would need to be written off as a tax loss due to unsuccessful collection. In some circumstances, utility companies will try to recover some of these funds by pushing for increased rates that would eventually affect the service areas’ households. Alexander Djerassi made a valid point to agreensign.com about solar panels and how transitioning could help elevate hardships. Djerassi stated “drastically reduced utility bills paired with reduced environmental impact makes this clean, renewable energy source an attractive solution to rising fuel cost . Solar panel prices have plummeted nearly 60%, making solar energy more affordable for the property owner”. There is no doubt for some, the pandemic has disrupted life in the most profound ways. Utility companies are sometimes willing to negotiate repayment plans with delinquent accounts rather than cutting them off completely. Lastly, the main focus should be making sure that families are healthy, not having to constantly worry about how next month’s bills will be paid. Make sure to take advantage of all the resources available at this time due to the coronavirus, and know we are not alone, even though this has been an incredibly challenging chapter in the history of the U.S.