California Forced to Give Residents Another $1.4B for Unaffordable Utility Bills

california utility bills
Office of the California Governor, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

Sometimes $1.4 billion just isn’t enough. Just ask California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

During the pandemic, Newsom and the state legislature gave $1.4 billion to more than 2.2 million households struggling to pay their overdue pandemic-era utility bills. 

The governor “doubled down” earlier this month, ordering an additional $1.4 billion from the state budget before the end of the year to cover more overdue utility bills, “for those who are still struggling amid rising costs,” Newsom said in a press release.

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It’s unclear what the governor’s office constitutes as “struggling” and who is eligible to have their overdue utilities covered.

The governor’s announcement said $1.2 billion will pay for residential electric bills through the Department of Community Services and Development, and $200 million will go to residential water and wastewater bills – on top of the $116 million in federal funding for water and wastewater debts. 

This spending is part Newsom’s financial relief package to help support Californians who are dealing with higher costs.

The new spending comes after last year’s “Golden State Stimulus,” which gave $9 billion to millions of California families, and billions more that went to help pay rent, cover overdue utility bills, and support small businesses, the governor’s office said.

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The first round of $1.4 billion utility relief included $989 million to help pay electric and gas utility bills for more than 1.4 million households and commercial customers, and another $435 million for unpaid water bills for more than 800,000 residential and commercial customers.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

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