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Millions of Californians Getting up to $170 ‘Climate Credit’ on April Utility Bills

March 12, 2024
The amount of payment does vary from utility to utility.

Along with April utility bills, California utilities are sending out payments to customers that can reach up to about $170, depending on whether they have electric or gas services and which utility they pay their bills to.

The credits are an effect of California’s cap-and-trade program, with the climate credit program overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission. The CPUC says these credits are normally sent in October and April.

Customers do not need to do anything to receive these benefits, as they are automatically added to bills. However, the amount of payment does vary from utility to utility. Investor-owned utility customers (like those of Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Pacific Power, Liberty Utilities, Bear Valley Electric Service and others) receive a separate California Climate Credit on both their electric and natural gas bills.

Customers automatically receive the credit if they buy electricity from an investor-owned utility company, electric service provider or community choice aggregation provider and are receiving utility service during the period the credit is distributed, according to the CPUC.

In 2023, the commission accelerated the distribution of the residential spring electric and natural gas California Climate Credits to help mitigate large and unexpected winter bills, according to the CPUC website.

California investor-owned electric utility PG&E is leaving a climate credit of up to $140.63 in the utility bills of 5 million qualifying residential households with an active electric and gas account. Eligible small business customers receive identical electric credits, distributed twice a year, according to PG&E.

The cap-and-trade program requires fuel providers, big industrial customers and power plant owners to buy carbon pollution allowances for the greenhouse gases they release.

According to SDG&E’s website, the CPUC temporarily authorized SDG&E to distribute the gas and electric climate credits in February, March and October. Beginning in 2024, the gas and electric California Climate Credits will revert to the original April and October distribution. SDG&E sends climate credits of about $78 for each residential electric and gas account, according to the CPUC.

In 2023, SCE sent out a total of $142 in climate credits to eligible customers.

In 2023, Pacific Power, a unit of PacifiCorp, added a credit of $132.85 to the bills of each Pacific Power residential and small business customer in March.

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