Nation-leading commitment to utility relief has provided over $1.6 billion to pay down 3 million households' overdue energy bills
November 22, 2022
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the release of $647 million in funding to help over 1.4 million California households struggling to pay their overdue energy bills. The awarded funding will eliminate all past due energy debt accrued by residential customers between March 4, 2020 and December 31, 2021, providing real relief to households that have suffered the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased energy debt.
Over the last year, California has distributed over $1.6 billion in financial assistance for bill credits through the California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP) to reduce or eliminate overdue electric and gas bills.
“California has made unprecedented commitments to help vulnerable households stay afloat as the cost-of-living increases," said Governor Newsom. “By providing utility relief that will eliminate over 1.4 million Californians' overdue energy bills, we're helping families who continue to struggle with higher costs."
Governor Newsom and the California Legislature established the 2022 California Arrearage Payment Program (2022 CAPP) to address 100 percent of past due energy bill balances incurred by residential customers during the program's COVID-19 pandemic bill relief period covering March 4, 2020 to December 31, 2021. Thirty-three energy utilities applied for 2022 CAPP funding on behalf of over 1.4 million eligible residential customers. Participating state energy utilities are required to apply a 2022 CAPP bill credit to their customer accounts within 60 days of receiving funds.
“Once again, we are leading with our values by working to ensure that our neighbors economically impacted by the pandemic can keep their lights on," said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “Many of us fell behind as the pandemic continued, and our commitment to further address energy debts is another way we are lifting up all Californians."
CAPP is administered by the Department of Community Services and Development (CSD). Under the first round of CAPP funding in 2021, over 1.5 million residential and commercial energy utility customers received a CAPP bill credit to reduce or eliminate their past due energy bill. While this provided significant relief for customers, not all residential arrearages were covered by the original program. With today's awards, 2022 CAPP will eliminate all remaining eligible past due energy debt accrued by residential customers during the COVID-19 pandemic bill relief period of March 4, 2020 to December 31, 2021.
“California households, through no fault of their own, continue to suffer from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and cost of living increases, including energy expenses," said CSD Director David Scribner. “The state was able to mobilize quickly to address historic levels of energy debt through CAPP in 2021, and building on last year's success, we have done it again in 2022 to effectively and efficiently deliver critical financial assistance to Californians in need."
For additional information about 2022 CAPP, visit https://www.csd.ca.gov/Pages/2022-CAPP.aspx.