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Higher summer temperatures could mean increased utility bills

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Local experts say the increase of temperatures around the country could lead to higher utility bills.

David Konisky, a professor at Indiana University, said families under financial pressure can do payment plans and take advantage of government assistance programs to help pay the bills.

Indiana households that make 60% of the state median income or less may qualify for these benefits.

“For low income families, they’re having to choose between feeling comfortable or keeping their utility bills low,” Konisky said. “That can feel like an impossible trade off.”

He said about 3 million American households will lose access to electricity of the inability to pay their expenses.

“Of course during times of extreme temperatures likes summer heat waves people have to use more energy. It puts more financial burden on them to use those energy sources and keep their homes safe and comfortable,” Konisky said.

The National Energy Assistance Directors Association says 19 states restrict utilities from shutting peoples power off if they cannot pay their bills during very hot summer days. Indiana is not on that list.

The state prohibits disconnecting if a customer qualifies for public assistance, or that disconnection can be postponed for 20 days if the customer presents a medical statement from a doctor that shows it would be a serious threat to their health and safety.