A Perfect (Heat) Storm: Small Businesses Will Be Hit Hard by Brutal Summers

With the summer heat making electric meters spin at homes and businesses across the country, it is no wonder why 53 percent of the respondents to the just released poll of small businesses said that higher energy costs resulting from uncontrolled climate change could harm their business in the future. The complete results from the American Sustainable Business Council poll can be found here.

Small business owners know that their utility costs are on the rise because they are using more electricity and gas. Climate change is and will continue to be responsible for this trend. The coming heat means increased air conditioning. The moderate temperature seasons will get shorter and while the winter heating seasons will also be shorter, they will have more severe cold spells like the nation experienced this year – all could dramatically increase utility bills.

But the amount of energy a small business uses is not the only determinant of cost. 

Nearly as many respondents to this poll (48 percent) were also concerned about power outages due to stress on the power grid. As transmission lines warm, they are less effective at conducting electricity. The combination of higher electricity demand and less electricity being transmitted can result in power outages that will negatively impact small businesses that typically don’t have a secondary power source.

In addition, power lines tend to sag during hot weather. This structural problem also poses a danger for power companies and those along the power lines.

Climate change left unchecked these problems will get worse. 

And the power companies will need to pass on the capital costs needed to address these grid and transmission problems right to the consumers.

We all are already too familiar with climate change induced extreme weather. But the perfect storm of higher energy demands and higher cost of delivering energy due to climate change is right around the corner.

Small businesses know that if nothing is done to mitigate climate change, they will be the ones writing bigger and bigger power bill checks with no end in sight. So it is no wonder that the poll also found that 64 percent of small businesses support government regulations to reduce the primary cause of climate change, carbon pollution from power plants.

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