Much like the cost of a loaf of bread or a carton of eggs now costs consumers considerably more than it did a couple of years ago, the price to heat and cool a home has risen considerably. Various factors, from climate-related events to supply chain issues to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have been cited as contributors to the rise in utility costs, which is not just a North American problem. Following pandemic-induced lows in 2020, natural gas prices have risen consistently, even during off-peak months, over the last year-plus. The cost of natural gas that’s delivered through pipes was up 24 percent in February from the year prior. Electricity has gone up as well. According to Choose Energy, an energy reporting resource, electricity rates have risen across the 50 states in 2022 by anywhere from 1.7 percent over 2021 (Alaska) to 46.1 percent (Maine). The national average increase is 11.3 percent. CBS News reported in 2019 that Americans are paying up to 30 percent more on water and wastewater bills in less than a decade. Water and sewer bills are rising faster than inflation rates, having increased for an eighth consecutive year in a study of the country’s 50 largest metropolitan regions. People concerned with the rising costs of utilities may have to be creative. Running appliances during off-peak hours; turning off lights and unplugging devices when not in use; investigating solar power; and investing in water-saving faucets, shower heads and toilets can help individuals curtail their energy consumption.
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