It was recently announced that over 113,000 San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers with overdue bills incurred during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic have automatically received debt relief through the California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP). The program erased a total of $51.3 million in overdue balances for SDG&E customers between March 4, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
While this may seem like good news for those struggling to pay their bills, it is important to remember that this debt relief is not actually being “erased” as referred to by Times of San Diego reporter Debbie Sklar. Instead, the funds are being paid for by the state and ultimately, by the taxpayers.
As Republicans, we believe in personal responsibility and the importance of living within one’s means. It is not fair for hardworking taxpayers to bear the burden of paying for the overdue bills of others. Furthermore, providing this type of debt relief does not address the root problem of overspending and encourages a culture of dependency.
Additionally, it is important to note that there are other assistance programs available for those facing financial hardships, as stated by Dana Golan, SDG&E’s vice president of customer services. The Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, for example, provides one-time grants of up to $300 to help offset past-due bills for SDG&E customers who need help paying bills and aren’t eligible for the federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
While the California Arrearage Payment Program may provide temporary relief for those struggling to pay their bills, it is important to remember that the funds are being paid for by the state and ultimately, by the taxpayers. As Republicans, we believe in personal responsibility and the importance of addressing the root problem of overspending rather than encouraging a culture of dependency.
Photo by Fré Sonneveld