Perfect Storm: Soaring Energy Costs Amid Arctic Freeze Could Leave Many Americans out in the Cold

Perfect Storm: Soaring Energy Costs Amid Arctic Freeze Could Leave Many Americans out in the Cold


The skyrocketing cost of heating could lead many budget-strapped American families to keep the dial down on the home thermometer despite the dangerous sub-zero wind chills blanketing much of the nation.

Consumer Energy Alliance Midwest Executive Director Chris Ventura told The Epoch Times that much of the dilemma facing many consumers can be attributed to Washington’s policies that disincentivize cheap and reliable energy sources in favor of less efficient and more expensive ones.

“Winter comes every year, but the difference in what we are seeing now is that the government’s push to transition from natural gas and other heating sources common in our past to what they call renewables like electricity has come at a very high cost for a person just trying to heat their home,” said Mr. Ventura.

“The shift means continued high prices for consumers to use a product that, in addition to costing more, quite honestly, often doesn’t work as well.

“These policies are hurting people, and that is what we are witnessing right now,” he added.

A dangerous Arctic blast has been sweeping across the nation this week, bringing below-freezing temperatures to more than three-quarters of the country. The cold was expected to set record-low temperatures on Monday and Tuesday in about 80 percent of the country.

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Over 100 million people were under a wind chill warning or advisory on Sunday, with the potential of more than 140 daily cold records being broken early this week from Oregon to Mississippi.

Louisiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky declared emergencies due to the extreme cold rip. In issuing a state of emergency on Sunday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves encouraged residents to take cover.

“All Mississippians in the impacted areas are encouraged to take precautions over the next few days,” a news release from the governor’s office said. “Prepare your homes now for below-freezing temperatures, bring pets inside, and check in with your loved ones who are most susceptible during this frigid weather.”
The bone-chilling cold spell set in across the United States as an increasing number of Americans have been hit with record-high heating prices. The year-over-year inflation rate for energy services such as electricity was nearly 20 percent, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration,

The demand for heat and the forced transition to electricity has placed the already vulnerable power grid under extreme duress, according to Mr. Ventura.

“States trying to force the market into hundred percent renewables places our energy grid under a huge amount of stress,” he said. “Our grid is already in big trouble, and if we have a failure during a cold spell, the results could be just devastating.

“There is only so much burden the grid can endure,” he added.

Inflation Woes

The news of record-high energy prices comes as budget-strapped Americans are increasingly forced to confront inflation in much-needed essentials, including everything from food to housing. Further, the skyrocketing cost of heat will likely worsen as soaring inflation continues to exceed wage growth, forcing many Americans to dig deeper for ways to trim their budgets.

Inflation, caused primarily by increased energy costs and a dramatic rise in the money supply, is already forcing Americans to spend $709 more per month on everyday goods and services than they did just two years ago, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

“The high inflation of the past 2+ years has done lots of economic damage,” Mr. Zandi wrote in an Aug. 10 post on X, formerly Twitter. “Due to the high inflation, the typical household spent $202 more in July than they did a year ago to buy the same goods and services. And they spent $709 more than they did two years ago.”

Inflation has been a notable concern for 78 percent of consumers, according to a survey conducted by the ACTA.

Further, the cost of an electric conversion in a household can cost $30,000 to convert from natural gas to electricity, according to Mr. Ventura.

“Embarking on a crusade to electrify everything without fully considering the cost to consumers, consumer cost, energy choice, or whether the necessary infrastructure is available has been the unfortunate strategy of some of our nation’s policymakers,” he said.

“If these policies were fully enacted, according to a review of federal data, consumers would have been forced to spend $137.4 billion more on energy costs this winter.

“Coupled with high inflation and a looming recession, such an outcome would have been disastrous to American families and businesses,” he added.

The prohibitive cost of heating on already strained budgets has put many in the position of having to make difficult choices between necessities, according to Mr. Ventura.

“No one wants to be cold, but people have to eat and have other bills, too,” he said. “Winter can be long. Hopefully, it isn’t long before people get the relief they need.”

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