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The many ways that extreme heat costs you and the US

Americans spend a lot — and lose a lot — during periods of extreme heat.
The many ways that extreme heat costs you and the US
Posted at 9:05 PM, Jul 20, 2023

Heat can be expensive — you may already be seeing the effects of this sweltering summer in your utility bill. But the costs reach past just keeping the AC running. Heat puts major stress on public health and the nation's overall productivity, too.

Heatwaves are expected to sharpen the bite of utility bills, particularly for households that are already struggling.

The National Energy Assistance Directors Association estimated that before summer this year, U.S. households combined were already nearly $20 billion behind on their utility payments. The group also estimated that energy costs for average households this summer would increase from $517 a year to $578 a year.

Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan public policy research group, estimates extreme heat drives about $1 billion in health care costs each summer, when heat-related illness causes more emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

And severe heat can put a dent in the GDP.

Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, a nonprofit working to increase community resilience to climate change effects, estimates that extreme heat in the U.S. reduces overall labor productivity by $100 billion a year. By 2030, without major efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, losses could climb closer to $200 billion annually.

SEE MORE: How can you save on your water bill amid the heat wave?

There are federal programs that are expected to help offset some of the costs, both immediately and in the years ahead:

The White House has a plan to distribute nearly $5 billion to fund resilience projects that will bolster coastal and tribal communities, and shore up electrical grid reliability over the next five years.

Overall, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act together are expected to "invest more than $50 billion in climate resilience and adaptation."


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