Frequently asked questions about the California Climate Credit
What is the California Climate Credit?
Who is eligible for the Climate Credit?
Why am I receiving a Climate Credit?
Does the credit amount vary by electricity provider?
When will I receive the Climate Credit?
Is the credit amount connected to my electricity use?
What will customers see on the bill?
Does the Climate Credit apply to the gas portion of my bill?
Will Net Energy Metering or NEM customers receive a Climate Credit?
What if there is a credit remaining on my account balance after the California Climate Credit is applied to my bill?
How is the credit amount calculated?
If the credit is from the state, why is it on my utility bill?
For how many years will I receive a Climate Credit?
Will the size of my Climate Credit change over time?
Where does the money for the Climate Credit come from?
What is the Cap-and-Trade Program?
Will my electricity rates increase as a result of Cap-and-Trade?
What is AB 32?
Which government agency is in charge of enforcing greenhouse gas reduction laws?
Where can I find more information about California’s efforts to fight climate change?
Under California's climate law, power plants and industries must pay for permits when they put carbon pollution into the air. Some of that money is used by the state to fight climate change, and some goes to households and small businesses to protect them from the carbon pollution cost in electricity that comes from non-renewable resources, like coal and natural gas. The credit on your electricity bill is your share of that money. To learn more about this credit, visit www.energyupgradeca.org/climatecredit.
All California residential customers that receive electricity from an investor owned utility company, electric service provider or community choice aggregation provider. This includes customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, PacifiCorp, and Liberty Utilities, and the community choice aggregators Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power.
Households and small businesses are receiving the Climate Credit to protect them from electricity cost increases and to give people additional opportunities to take advantage of energy and money-saving upgrades that also help fight climate change. To learn more about actions that households and businesses can take, visit www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org.
Yes. However, the California Climate Credit is distributed equally to each electricity provider’s residential customers in April and October of each year, regardless of energy consumption or bill amount.
Households will receive the credit twice per year in the April and October bills. Small businesses will receive it monthly.
Every household and eligible small business will see messages on their bills announcing when they have a Climate Credit. This messaging will vary slightly by utility, but your bills will typically include the following:
- A line Item “CA Climate Credit” or “California Climate Credit” on your bill with the amount of the credit under your electricity delivery charges;
- New bill messages that explain the credit
- A new Bill Definition that explains that “CA Climate Credit” or “California Climate Credit” line item, however it may appear on your bill.
No, it only applies to the electricity portion.
Any carryover balance will be applied to your next month’s bill. If there is a balance, customers may ask for a refund check instead of having the balance applied to your next month’s bill.
The Climate Credit is calculated according to rules adopted by the CPUC. Some of the funds help support manufacturers and small businesses. Residential customers receive the remaining funds (approximately 90% of the total funds in 2014).
The most cost effective way to return this credit to electricity customers is as a bill credit through your energy provider. This approach maximizes the amount of savings each household and small business will receive.
Right now the Climate Credit is expected to continue until at least 2020.
Yes. The size of the Climate Credit depends on a large number of factors that can change from year to year, but the credit will always be calculated according to rules established by the CPUC. (Link to relevant decisions for more info.)
Funds for the Climate Credit come from a state program to fight climate change by limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that large polluters can release into the atmosphere. Each year the state auctions a limited number of emission permits so that California can meet its goal of reducing its overall emissions down to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Some of the aution money is used by the state to fight climate change, and some is returned to many Californians as a Climate Credit. This program is one of many developed as a result of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which put California at the forefront of efforts to battle climate change. To learn more about California’s effort to fight climate change: www.energyupgradeca.org/climatechange.
Check out our page dedicated to the Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Program.
California has programs to encourage electricity providers to shift toward clean sources of energy, and one of those programs results in power plants facing a cost when they produce electricity from fuels that put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These costs are reflected in all customers’ electricity generation rates – the portion of electricity bills that represents the costs to generate electricity.
However, the rate increases for residential, small business, and some manufacturing customers will either be fully or partially offset by Climate Credits. The goal is to protect customers from overall cost increases on their electricity bills and to give people additional opportunities to invest in energy and money-saving upgrades. To find out how to join California’s efforts to fight climate change visit the website EnergyUpgradeCA.org/climatecredit.
AB 32 is California’s law to reduce carbon pollution and fight climate change. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32, mandates that California reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and then maintains that reduction (about 15% from current levels). For more information on AB32: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/cc.htm.
The lead agency is the California Air Resources Board (ARB). This is also the agency that sets state standards to clean the air and promote clean vehicles and clean fuels.
Here are a few useful links: