But other energy costs are rising, offsetting relief at the pump. The index for electricity in August climbed 15.8% over the same month a year ago, the biggest such 12-month increase since 1981, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “It’s painful,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, which represents state directors of the federal program to help low-income people behind on energy bills. “It’s one more price that’s going up for an essential service that all families have to buy and there’s little option for substitution.” His organization estimates the average cost of home heating will increase by 17.2% this winter. Since gasoline prices hit a record national average above $5 a gallon in June, the average has fallen to $3.71 a gallon, tracing a selloff in oil prices on concerns about stagnating economic growth. Americans also drove […]