A view of City Hall San Francisco from the Civic Center Plaza. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved allowing energy utility companies CleanPowerSF and Hetch Hetchy Power to use $1.3 million in federal funds to address energy debts accumulated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a retroactive request, supervisors unanimously passed on Tuesday the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s February move to credit $1.2 million and $103.2 million, respectively, to residential customers who had unpaid energy bills.

Nearly 15,000 customer accounts were relieved from their unpaid electric bills between March 2020 and December 2021, according to documents from the SFPUC Financial Planning Team.

The dollars were sourced by the California State Budget Act and administered by the state Department of Community Services and Development. The state department garnered $1 billion to provide energy utilities enough funds to relieve unpaid bills via an application-based program in 2022. SFPUC received its full share of requested funds in December.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SFPUC has extended its moratorium on shutoffs, liens and late fees for missed bills numerous times. It also previously secured $10.9 million in federal and state aid for emergency assistance to customers, though financial hardships continued to cause customers to fall into utility bill debt, according to the commission.