The poorest among us pay more than they can afford for their power bills.
Economists call it an “affordability gap” when a household spends more than 6 percent of annual income on utilities. Many low-income households pay a much higher percentage. That means energy bills force hard decisions in other areas.
The solar surge threatens centralized utilities, forcing states across the nation to search for a new model for electricity rates that works for customers and utilities. Reporter Matthew Frank looks at his own experience in Montana.
Historically, electricity pricing has been relatively straightforward: the more you use, the more you pay. But today, that simple equation is not so simple. Increasingly, the time of day when you use electricity factors into the cost as well.
It may be lights out for the solar industry in Nevada. That state is hemorrhaging jobs after a controversial decision in December to raise rates for customers with rooftop solar panels. The move has jarred the solar industry nationwide, especially in other southwestern states like Arizona.
What is the most energy efficient way to boil water? And which method has the smallest carbon footprint? The familiar act of boiling water lets us examine how the choices we make daily roll up to global energy consumption.