April 8, 2020 — Issue Brief

The challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis have heightened the importance of sustained, affordable access to essential home energy service for all households across the nation. Yet, there is currently only limited capacity in the U.S. to gain a clear, data-driven understanding of the number of households that lose access to home energy services and otherwise struggle with utility affordability and security. Without the data, home energy affordability challenges and their often-dire consequences remain invisible, and the effectiveness of utility credit and collections practices cannot be assessed. Further, development and implementation of effective programs and policies to address access and affordability challenges is thwarted by lack of data. There is a pressing need to step up utility collection and public reporting of data reflecting service disconnections and restorations, as well as other measures of home energy security.