Study Reveals Financial Effects of Pandemic for Members
TSE Services recently participated in a nationwide survey of utility consumers through our research partner, Bellomy Research, located in Winston-Salem, NC. Based on our survey results from late June 2020, utility customers are experiencing varying degrees of difficulty with paying their utility bills during the pandemic. Just over one quarter of utility consumers indicated their ability to pay their monthly electric bills were impacted to either a “moderate” or “high” degree. Those most impacted were younger (18-34), located in the western US, minorities, and lived in households with 2 or more residents. Surprisingly, respondents who made more than $100k expressed more difficulty paying their utility bills then members with incomes less than $50k.
Our study also looked at how concerned members were about paying future utility bills as the pandemic lingers. Future concerns were more evident with younger members, minorities and households with more than one resident. It also appears consumers residing in the western US where higher costs of living are present were significantly more worried about paying their utility bills than those in other parts of the country. It is important for electric cooperatives to consider how these factors will impact their membership as states reopen services and members are faced with accumulating account balances and potential service interruptions.