California utility regulators extend moratorium on power, gas shutoffs amid pandemic

State utility regulators have extended a moratorium on electricity and gas shutoffs for unpaid customer bills through Sept. 30, the California Public Utilities Commission announced Thursday.

Under the decision, residential customers who have fallen behind on their energy bills during the pandemic will be automatically enrolled in one- or two-year payment plans. Small businesses will also be signed up for a similar plan.

Ratepayers can apply for state and federal aid to help cover missed energy payments during the pandemic.

In Sonoma County, residents can access assistance through a county-run program to help cover back rent and utility bills. So far, officials have disbursed less than 10% of the $32 million set aside for assistance.

Qualifying Sonoma County residents can apply for rental assistance on or by calling 211 to reach English- and Spanish-speaking operators. Applicants can also find a community-based organization to assist them by visiting