Help for Paying Past-Due Water and Power Bills

Due to job losses, business closures and other hardships, millions of Californians have fallen behind on their electric, water and wastewater bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, money is available if you need help paying your past-due bills.

The state of California, using funds provided by the federal government, recently approved several new programs with billions of dollars in financial assistance that specifically address utility bill debt customers have accrued during the pandemic.

California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP)
CAPP will offer financial assistance for California energy utility customers. Administered by the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD), the CAPP program dedicates nearly $1 billion in federal funding to address Californians’ energy debts incurred from March 4, 2020, to June 15, 2021.  Utility customers do not need to apply to receive assistance under the CAPP program. If a customer’s account is eligible — 60 days or more behind on payments — a credit will be automatically applied to some or all of the customer’s bill, depending on availability of funds and the combined needs of all utility customers. For more information, visit the CAPP program webpage.

California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program (CWWAPP)

CWWAPP will offer financial assistance for California water and wastewater customers for debts incurred from March 4, 2020 to June 15, 2021. Administered by the State Water Board, the CWWAPP program dedicates nearly $1 billion in federal funding  to provide financial relief to residential and commercial customers. Water and wastewater utility customers do not need to apply to receive assistance under the CWWAPP program. If a customer’s account is eligible, a credit will be automatically applied to some or all of the customer’s bill, depending on availability of funds and the combined needs of all utility customers. For more information, visit the CWWAPP program webpage.

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
Newly established by Congress, LIHWAP offers assistance for low-income Californians to help manage their residential water utility costs. California has been allocated $116 million in one-time federal funding to provide LIHWAP assistance. The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) has been designated the administering agency for LIHWAP in California. An application process is required. For more information, visit the LIHWAP program webpage.

The California COVID-19 Rent and Utility Relief Program

The California Department of Housing and Community Development is providing financial assistance to landlords and other housing providers to help qualifying tenants that meet income requirements and have been impacted by COVID-19 pay their water and electric utility bills. An application process is required. For more information, visit the utility relief program webpage.

Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
A longstanding program, California’s LIHEAP program was recently infused with nearly $500 million in new federal funding. LIHEAP is aimed at assisting low-income households that pay a high portion of their income to meet their energy needs. An application process is required. For more information, visit the LIHEAP webpage.

Contact your water and energy service providers to determine your eligibility for these programs. Requirements and timing of assistance payments and bill credits vary depending on the program.