Energy burden is when individuals and families spend a higher percentage of household income on energy bills. Ensuring that Virginia has commonsense constraints on energy bills will ease the transition to a clean energy economy. Virginians pay the 6th highest energy bills in the country, which are considered unaffordable for 75% of Virginia households based on federal energy burden standards.
Virginia needs to prioritize equity and investments in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, and focus on improving accessibility, including energy affordability. Virginia should continue to invest in the most cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions to power our Commonwealth and grow thriving sustainable communities.
In Virginia, 164,000 households living below the poverty level pay about 31% of their income on energy costs, and another 179,000 pay about 17% of their income—far exceeding the 6% threshold considered to be non-burdensome. Many of our neighbors most impacted by high energy costs are from communities of color and low-income families. It is unreasonable for working families to spend so much of their income to afford essential energy.
VAIPL believes as people of faith, it’s our responsibility to prioritize clean, affordable energy for all Virginians and respond to the experiences and challenges of energy burden and access that Virginia families face. VAIPL works to alleviate energy burden and guarantee access to sufficient and affordable energy for all Virginia communities.
Resources to Understand Virginia’s Energy Burden Crisis
- Read “Electricity Burden and the Myth of Virginia’s Rate Utopia” by The Affordable Clean Energy Project (ACEP) of Virginia Poverty Law Center
- Read the “ENERGY BURDENS IN RICHMOND” report by The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
- Read “What Is the Home Energy Affordability Gap?” by Fisher Sheehan & Colton: Public Finances and General Economics
- Read “Power Dynamic: Energy Insecurity and Health” article by Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health