Business & Economy

Millions of California households to receive climate credit on electricity bills

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California Air Resources Board announced Monday that millions of California households will see a credit averaging $35 on their April electricity bills.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California Air Resources Board announced Monday that millions of California households will see a credit averaging $35 on their April electricity bills.
File photo by brutalSoCal/Flickr

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California Air Resources Board announced Monday that millions of California households will see a credit averaging $35 on their April electricity bills and another credit in October.

The credit is due to a state program designed to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The agencies encourage California consumers who receive the credit, which is expected to last until 2020, to use it to invest in energy efficient home upgrades.

“By investing their Climate Credit in simple items to improve energy efficiency – like LED lights or smart thermostats – consumers and businesses can save energy, reduce costs, and join with the State of California to fight climate change,” CPUC President Michael R. Peevey said in a statement.

Households and small businesses do not need to do anything to get the credit, which will appear on their April and October bills each year, regardless of energy consumption or bill amount.

The credit amount varies by service provider. Household customers of the following utility companies will receive the following credit for 2014 (April and October combined):

The amount of climate credit that household customers receive each year will change due to a large number of variables. 

Small businesses will receive the climate credit every month, as a credit related to the amount of electricity used. Those customers include commercial, industrial, and agricultural customers, as well as nonprofits and schools that typically use less than 20 kilowatts of power each month.

“The Climate Credit is part of an array of programs developed by California to fight climate change and improve air quality. This includes cars that use less gas, cleaner electricity, and more energy efficient homes. This saves money and cleans the environment,” said Mary D. Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, in a statement. “If homeowners and businesses use the credit to purchase some of the newest energy efficient light bulbs or other energy-saving equipment they will save even more.”

Customers of the state’s investor-owned utilities, including Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric, will receive a climate credit that is designed to help California fight climate change and clean the air. The credit comes from payments by power plants and industries that, under California’s climate program, purchase permits when they put carbon pollution into the air. The credit is calculated according to rules established by the CPUC.

The climate credit doesn't affect customers of publicly owned utilities like Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The climate credit is one of many programs developed as a result of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also knows as AB32, which requires greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020.

The California Air Resources Board is the lead agency for implementation of the act.

Other programs include a requirement that by 2020 a third of electricity used in California must come from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar. And California’s zero-emission vehicle regulation requires that one of every seven cars sold in 2025 be fully zero-emission, a mandate supported by Governor Brown’s 2012 Executive Order to provide fueling infrastructure for the ultra-clean cars.

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More information about the Climate Credit is available at www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org/climatecredit.

For more information on the CPUC, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

For more information on the ARB, visit www.arb.ca.gov.