Electricity, energy costs hike consumer prices

(Image: Fotolia)
(Image: Fotolia)

Higher housing costs, especially for electricity, nudged local consumer prices up 0.9 percent during March and April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

The cost of housing, which includes the cost of owning or renting a primary residence as well as the price of electricity, increased 1.8 percent during March and April, according to the bureau.

However, the data is not seasonally adjusted and is subject to short-term swings in price.

Environmental fines: House bill would suspend penalties when blackouts loom

From April 2012 to April 2013, local consumer prices were up 0.7 percent. While consumers paid 1.2 percent more for food, they paid 12.3 percent less for energy.

In March and April, Houston-area shoppers got a break on food prices. The cost of food slipped 0.1 percent during the spring after increasing 0.7 percent during the first two months of the year.

Shoppers at the grocery store got the biggest break in March and April with prices, especially for ground beef, beef roast and steak, falling 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, restaurant meals rose 0.1 percent.

Energy costs rose 2.3 percent in March and April, largely because of an 8.2 percent jump in the cost of electricity.

However, over the 12-month period, energy costs were down 12.3 percent, reflecting lower prices for electricity and motor fuel, the bureau reported.