Creating More Equity in Energy

Published: October 5, 2022 by Kara Nieberlein

You walk into your home, flick the light switch, head to the fridge and grab a glass of cold water. Suddenly, you feel a chill and turn the thermostat up.  These habitual acts are basic, but fundamental to our lives. Unfortunately, not everyone has equal access to such luxuries. There is a substantial amount of people who are impacted by heavy energy burdens.  

What is an energy burden? 

An energy burden is the percentage of gross household income that goes towards energy costs. Two families can have similar energy bills, but different household incomes. Like many other industries, the utility sector is shifting its’ focus toward equitable outcomes and establishing and implementing effective efficiency programs.  

 Who do energy burdens impact? 

Due to the energy burden, many communities of color have been historically underserved by energy efficiency and clean energy programs. The energy burden can also impact those who rent, have less efficient appliances or live in older homes. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of August, 2022, 23.1% of U.S. adults lived in households that were unable to pay an energy bill in the last 12 months. Additionally, The American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE) found that low-income Black, Hispanic and Native American households face dramatically higher energy burdens than average.

How can Experian be a partner for energy equity?  

As the “Consumer’s Bureau,” Experian is deeply committed to putting consumers’ best interests first as we make key decisions to support our clients. Like the energy industry, Experian wants to lessen the energy burden for underserved and low-income communities. This is a business of critical consequence, and we are focused on helping our clients accelerate progress and equity within the communities they serve. As we navigate along this inclusion journey together, we can assist with three core areas: 

  1. Measure and track: Understand geographies and audience segments containing the largest opportunities for inclusion within the communities you serve. Benchmark and track progress towards your internal diversity and inclusion goals. Determine who qualifies for energy efficiency programs by getting a more accurate view of the communities you serve.
  2. Include and reach: By incorporating supplementary data sources, we can help you identify and reach underserved consumers and small business owners who are often excluded from the traditional credit ecosystem.
  3. Inform and empower: Develop and educate vulnerable populations, offering the tools and support needed to advance their financial health journey. Enabling your consumers to obtain the assistance they need. 

By leveraging our leading data assets, businesses can obtain a more holistic consumer view to drive better outcomes and opportunities while making smarter decisions and minimizing risk. With accurate data you can effectively prioritize field work, get correct assessment of household income, increase productivity of field personnel, and improve field collection rates.

We care about doing the right thing and are here to ensure you meet your energy efficiency and equity goals. Together, we can make a positive impact on our communities and consumers.   

To learn more about how Experian is helping the utility industry drive inclusion and bring equity to energy, visit us or request a call.

Access the infographic

Energy Burden Research. Aceee.org. (2022).
Household Pulse Survey. Census.gov. (2022).
Low-Income Households, Communities of Color Face High Energy. Aceee.org. (2022).
Experian and Oliver Wyman find expanded data and advanced analytics can improve access to credit. Experian plc. (2022).

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