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Soaring Energy Bills Shock Struggling Consumers Around the Globe

Even though mild winter weather has helped stave off a crisis, economic pain is spreading from Maine to Tokyo.

Tyrone Stallone at his home in Berlin.
Tyrone Stallone at his home in Berlin.Photographer: Jacobia Dahm/Bloomberg
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People around the world are taking drastic steps to cope with rising energy costs: bubble-wrapping their windows, skipping showers and sitting in the dark.

Despite a mild winter in places like New York City and London, the global energy crisis is hammering people who are grappling with inflation that is driving up the cost of pretty much everything. On Friday, Russia said it would cut its oil output by 500,000 barrels a day next month in retaliation for western energy sanctions, sending oil prices higher.

Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent consumer energy bills soaring, a jump in post-pandemic demand and the transition to renewables had made the world’s energy system more fragile and prone to shock. Energy prices in 2023 were already expected to be 75% above their average over the past five years, even if, as forecast, costs moderate this year compared to 2022, according to the World Bank