Year in Review: Utility needs rise in 3 of 5 states

Despite service disconnection bans in many states during the COVID-19 pandemic, utility assistance requests were up in most states in 2020. In an analysis of 1.5 million requests for utility assistance received by 211 helplines in 21 states, national rates rose by 36% in 2020 over 2019. Year-over-year requests were higher in 13 of the 21 states. The greatest increases were observed in Minnesota (+153%), South Dakota (+147%), Delaware (+134%), Connecticut (+126%) and Nevada (+101%). States shaded darker on the map experienced larger increases. Mouse over each state to see month-by-month requests for each year, and percentage change from 2019 to 2020. In most states with large increases, requests for utility assistance rose the most during Fall 2020, or as local disconnection bans expired. Data are from 211 Counts, a daily tracking system of community needs used in 37 states. States with partial coverage by 211 Counts or incomplete data for 2019 and 2020 were excluded from analyses.

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