Climate Credits to California Consumers

Public Utilities Commission Seal

Public Utilities Commission Seal

 Climate Credits Announced by California Public Utilities Commission

[sent in a Pacific Gas & Electric Customer’s Billing]

This month* your utility bill will include a credit identified as the “California Climate Credit.” Your household and millions of others throughout the state will receive this credit on your utility bills.

This payment comes from a California program that is fighting climate change. Your Climate Credit is designed to help you join in these efforts. You can use the bill savings from your Climate Credit however you choose, but you can save even more money by investing the savings in energy-saving home upgrades, including more efficient lights and appliances. You can find more information and receive rebates for these and many other energy-efficient choices for your home at

 The Climate Credit is one of many programs resulting from landmark legislation called the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Together, these programs are cutting pollution, creating jobs, and investing in cleaner energy and transportation. For more information about climate change science and programs to reduce carbon pollution, visit

CaliforniaGeo response—

Like many utility customers I received my semi-annual credit notification, predicting it will show on my next billing statement.  This payment is a refund to consumers of utility systems’ electricity or methane for their homes because the price of carbon release already upped the price consumers pay for energy because of fossil contributions of greenhouse gas release into the California atmosphere.

Cap and Trade is the mechanism that is being used to set this price (and thus calculate a refund to consumers).  It has been criticized in that the price of carbon has remained too low.  While that might be true, it must be remembered that gaining approval for the start of the program required a large regulatory allowance of “free” credits to those providing thermal power plant fuels and methane for combustion in buildings.  Over time, the need for allowances is expected to push the per ton price of carbon emissions upward, but that would only be likely with brisk growth over time of the California economy.  A state carbon tax might be a more efficient and stable (therefore predictable) levy on fossil-based businesses, but this course is less tolerable politically.

A significant portion of Cap and Trade revenue is also placed into air pollution mitigation and “green” infrastructure projects throughout the state.

In this consumer’s case, the credit will do me no good.  I already occupy a carbonless, zero net energy home/office which in its first year exported more electricity to my utility than I used.  The $760 annual credit I gained at my True-Up billing evaporated (as predicted) as did the $54 credit for surplus generation.  However, I believe in the 2006 ARB program and am trying to create more construction like my own to fight climate change.