That’s fine if you can afford the bill.
But many Americans cannot. While utility companies scramble to keep up with increasing demand for cooling, some low-income families cannot even afford the cost of an air conditioner, let alone the cost of the electricity needed to power the unit. That means the nation’s most vulnerable families are at a high risk for heat-related illnesses. The federal government and state governments must do more to ensure low-income Americans have access to air conditioning.
The small solution the country has now isn’t great. Low-income Americans can shelter in locally designated cooling centers until the temperatures drop, but many shelters have limited capacity because of pandemic regulations. It’s also morally wrong — why should a family lose all privacy just because they do not earn enough money to pay their energy bills?
Heat waves are a public health issue. And no family should be forced to leave their homes and move to a cooling center just because they cannot afford air conditioning. Our communities deserve better.