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New Report Finds Orlando’s Lower Income Communities Face High Energy Burden
Western and Southwestern Orlando communities pay on average 130% higher than the average of their monthly income on energy bills.
ORLANDO, FL – A new report out today from GreenLink Analytics shows a large disparity between the energy burden faced by different communities across Orlando, from a low of 1.8% to as high as 9.2%. Energy burden is the percent of income spent on electricity and gas bills. The national average of the percentage of household earnings going towards energy costs is roughly 4%.
“It’s crystal clear that we must take action to end the disparities between low income communities, experiencing more than twice that of the national average, and their affluent neighbors who spend less than four times the energy burden,” said Susan Glickman of the Florida Clinicians for Climate Action. “It’s an injustice that requires strong action. We must both increase awareness to protect health and also move concrete solutions to upgrade substandard housing, expand weatherization efforts, provide cooling centers, and identify other adaptive measures.”
On Thursday, February 23rd at University of Central Florida’s Downtown Campus, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign is hosting an Energy Equity Summit such along with the Hispanic Federation, Alianza Center, The CLEO Institute, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, NAACP, Florida Rising, Florida Clinicians for Climate Action, and The Climate Reality Project aimed at discussing the intersectionality of energy burden to housing affordability and health impacts.
From the report:
“Energy burden is not a stand-alone issue. The financial strains associated with energy burden express a history of socioeconomic conditions that continue to negatively plague communities today. The data show that Orlando’s energy burdens have shown a moderate relationship to chronic health issues, such as asthma and poor mental health. Additionally, Orlando’s energy burden has primarily impacted renter-occupied households versus owner occupied households. Understanding the interconnectedness of health, housing, and energy issues help reveal energy burden as part of a greater structural injustice, and why a pattern of communities facing a cluster of challenges all at once continues to present over time.”
“Greenlink undertook an in-depth analysis of the intersections between energy, health, and housing inequities to reveal how those paying unfair amounts on utility bills face an onslaught of other issues that perpetuate poverty,” said Greenlink Analytics’ Director of Community Initiatives, Angelica Chavez-Duckworth. “This means that addressing energy burden could provide people the opportunity to climb the economic ladder.”
Over the past three years Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign has worked with the Hispanic Federation, Alianza Center, The CLEO Institute, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, NAACP, Florida Rising, Clinicians for Climate Action, The Climate Reality Project, and others to combat fuel cost rate hikes along with utility shut offs that have directly harmed lower income communities across Orlando. The Energy Equity Summit brings communities together to discuss the interconnectedness of these issues, and prepare themselves to organize to push to combat these issues.
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About The CLEO Institute
Founded in 2010, The CLEO Institute (CLEO) exists for the sole purpose of building climate literacy and spurring climate action. As the only women-led nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Florida that is exclusively dedicated to climate change education, advocacy, and engagement, CLEO is viewed as the go-to regional source for credible, vetted climate science. The CLEO Institute is a 501(c)(3) working with communities across Florida to build climate literacy and mobilize climate action for a just, resilient future. Learn more at cleoinstitute.org.