Financial Assistance Available for Energy Customers

Eligible Californians, including community choice aggregation (CCA) customers, are now or will soon be able to receive financial assistance on their utility bills through two state programs: the California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP) and the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP). Neither program requires action from the customer; eligible customers are automatically enrolled to receive program benefits. 

“The pandemic brought about financial stress for many Californians,” said CalChoice Executive Director Jason Caudle. “The CAPP and PIPP pilot programs are steps in the right direction to help ensure our energy customers get the assistance they need and don’t continue to accrue energy bill balances.”

The CAPP offers financial assistance that helps customers reduce past-due energy bill balances accrued during the coronavirus pandemic. The program, as established in the 2021-22 state budget by the California Legislature, dedicates $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to address the state’s energy debts.

Through the CAPP, customers who incurred a past due balance of 60 days or more on their energy bill during the time period from March 4, 2020 to June 15, 2021 (designated as the COVID-19 pandemic relief period) will automatically receive credits as funds become available to utilities and CCAs. CCA customers began receiving credits during the first week of February. 

The PIPP program, a pilot program currently being developed, will allow participants to pay a predetermined affordable percentage of their monthly income towards their electricity or natural gas bill. Participants will receive a monthly bill cap for current charges set at four percent of their household’s monthly income. 

Customers who are enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program will be eligible for the pilot program if they are located in one of the zip codes with the highest rates of recurring disconnections in a utility’s service territory, or if they have experienced two or more disconnections during the 12 months prior to the disconnections moratorium. CalChoice will provide more information to member cities about this as soon as it’s available. 

For additional information about the CAPP Fund or PIPP Program, please contact CalChoice Energy Programs Manager Kathy Wells at Kathy@CalChoice.Org.