End High Energy Burdens

Energy Burden

The portion of a household’s income spent on energy.

What is high energy burden?

High energy burden is considered greater than 6% of income spent on energy costs.  Households experiencing higher energy burdens are more likely to live in older, inefficient housing stock which may result in additional adverse health impacts. High energy burdens can also lead to negative mental health impacts due to uncertainty around heating and cooling costs. The likelihood that energy insecure households’ energy bills will exceed their ability to pay is determined more by the weatherization and condition of their home than household income.

1 in 3

1 in 3 U.S. households report difficulty paying their electricity bills


The median household energy burden is 3.1%, however, income-qualified communities experience energy burden as high as 8.1%


The average energy burden for Black and Latinx households is 43% higher than white households.

7 years

If the entire world transitioned to renewable energy today, we could cover the costs of the clean energy transition in 7 years. Not to mention the additional 28.6 million full-time jobs and $1.3 trillion saved annually in energy costs.

Energy burden can help policymakers identify which groups are being left out of energy-related policies and programs.  Systemic racism and systems of oppression perpetuate inequities that impact the percentage of income households spend on energy costs. This ratio, known as energy burden, is significantly higher in climate-impacted communities. Households with higher energy burdens are more likely to stay in cycles of poverty. 

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