Monday Top of the Scroll: Unpaid utility bills? California will pay $2 billion to stop shutoffs
Official estimates of unpaid water and energy bills accumulated during the pandemic verge on $2.7 billion, affecting a few million Californians — and those figures have been growing rapidly. The state has so far prioritized rent relief — keeping people housed — over utilities relief. [O]f the $158 million distributed as of July 16, less than $40,000 had gone to utilities relief. Utility debt makes up about 6% of all assistance requested so far. On July 11, lawmakers revealed a plan to use one-time federal relief money to address the debt. … But it doesn’t extend current shutoff moratoria past Sept. 30.