by Photo courtesy of California State Capitol

California will $1.4 billion in utility bill relief for more than 2.2 million households impacted during the pandemic by the end of this year. 

The financial support will be granted to Californians still struggling to pay utility bills due to the pandemic. Gov. Gavin Newsom said earlier this week that this new round of relief builds upon last year’s Golden State Stimulus, which gave $9 billion to millions of California families, and the billions that went to help Californians pay their rent, cover overdue utility bills and support small businesses. 

“No other state in America did as much for those struggling during the pandemic than California, with tens of billions of dollars for stimulus checks, small business relief, and past-due rent and utility bills to help Californians. We got $1.4 billion out the door to help 2.2 million families with overdue utility bills, and we’re sending another $1.4 billion to support those who are still struggling amid rising costs,” Newsom said. 

According to Newsom’s office, about $1.2 billion will go out to address residential electric utility arrearages through the Department of Communtiy Services and Development to mitigate the outstanding debt leading to increase utility rates,  $200 million will address residential water and wastewater arrearages, complementing $116 million in federal funding for water and wastewater arrearages. 

The $1.4 billion to be distributed by year’s end was included in the state’s budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023, which began July 1.

The Department of Community Services and Development has already provided assistance for electric and gas utility bills for more than 1.4 million households and commercial customers, distributing $989 million throughout the pandemic. 

The State Water Resources Control Board covered unpaid water bills for more than 800,000 residential and commercial customers, distributing $435 million in just 10 months for debt accrued during the pandemic.

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