Bill credits will go to customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), and Alameda Municipal Power
December 9, 2021
The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) today announced the first approvals of California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP) applications and the release of funds for overdue customer energy bills incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under CAPP, the State of California is directing $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funding towards benefits that will reduce or eliminate past due energy bill balances accrued by customers economically impacted by the pandemic.
“This program is just one of the many ways the state has mobilized to assist Californians economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," said CSD Director David Scribner. “These benefits will help pay down energy bills that increased to unprecedented levels during the pandemic, allowing customers burdened by past due balances to prioritize other critical financial needs."
Qualified customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), and Alameda Municipal Power are the first to have their CAPP bill credits approved. Energy utilities must apply bill credits to customer accounts within 60 days of receiving CAPP funds. Customers of other energy utilities will receive CAPP bill credits after approval of those utilities' CAPP applications.
“As the state's economy continues to recover from the pandemic, it's critically important that we remain focused on helping those hit hardest," said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “This is another demonstration of our deep commitment to ensuring that all communities, especially the most vulnerable, will benefit from the state's investments in California's recovery."
Established by Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature, CAPP dedicates $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to reduce past due energy bill balances incurred by customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customer utility bills that are 60 days or more past due for energy use during the pandemic relief period from March 4, 2020 through June 15, 2021 qualify for relief under CAPP. Under CAPP, available funding is first targeted towards addressing past due energy bill balances accrued during the relief period by active residential customers at risk of disconnection, followed by active residential customers with past due balances, inactive residential customers with past due balances, and finally commercial customers with past due balances.
LADWP applied for and is receiving $202.8 million in CAPP funds for 224,200 customer accounts. This funding will address 99 percent of LADWP's active CAPP-qualified residential customer accounts with past due balances accrued during the pandemic relief period and who are at risk of disconnection.
SMUD applied for and is receiving $41.4 million in CAPP funds for 59,800 customer accounts. This funding will address 100 percent of SMUD's active CAPP-qualified residential customer accounts with past due balances accrued during the pandemic relief period and 64 percent of all qualified inactive residential accounts (approximately two-thirds of each inactive residential customer's eligible energy utility debt will be addressed).
Alameda Municipal Power applied for and is receiving $650,000 in CAPP funds for 1,200 customer accounts. This funding will address 100 percent of Alameda's CAPP-qualified active and inactive residential customer accounts and 53 percent of eligible arrearages for all qualified commercial accounts (approximately half of each commercial customer's eligible energy utility debt will be addressed).
According to the results of the CAPP Energy Utility Survey, which calculated total statewide energy bill arrearages and determined CAPP allocations for individual energy utilities, over 3 million customers statewide accrued almost $2 billion in energy utility debt during the pandemic relief period. CSD estimated CAPP allocations would offset almost 50 percent of qualifying statewide energy bill arrearages reported in the survey.
California energy utilities are currently in the process of applying on behalf of their customers for CAPP funding. Utility customers do not need to apply to receive assistance under the CAPP program. If a customer account is eligible and funds are available, a CAPP credit will be automatically applied to the customer's bill. CAPP benefits will be credited to customer accounts on a rolling basis as energy utilities apply and are approved for CAPP funding. The deadline for energy utilities to apply for CAPP funding is January 7, 2022. CSD is required to disburse CAPP funds to utility applicants no later than January 31, 2022, and energy utilities must apply bill credits to customer accounts within 60 days of receiving CAPP funds.
Customers with questions about CAPP can contact their energy utility. For additional information about the program, visit https://www.csd.ca.gov/Pages/CAPP.aspx.