Pacific Power customers to see $194 Climate Credit on their bill
Pacific Power customers may not believe their eyes when they get their bill this month and see a $194 Climate Credit.
Funds for the program come from AB32 – formally known as California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 – and customers don’t need to do anything to get it, said Dave Clegern, spokesperson for the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board. It should show up automatically on Pacific Power’s electric bills twice a year, in April and October.
The amount will likely vary year by year, said Pacific Power's spokesperson Tom Gauntt, though the credit is distributed equally to each residential customer, regardless of energy consumption or bill amount.
The credit is part of AB32’s Cap and Trade program, said Clegern, and is “a way to help involve regular folks in the fight against greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The hope is people will recycle that money, so to speak, on energy efficiency,” said Gauntt, though Californians can use the credits any way they choose. “Basically, it’s money that doesn’t come out of your pocket” that can be used to invest in energy-saving devices and home improvements.
Small businesses will also get the credit, though the amount is calculated based on their usage and is given monthly, said Clegern.
AB32 addresses climate change by placing an economy-wide “cap” on major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as power plants. Each year, the cap is lowered by approximately three percent, to ensure California is reducing greenhouse gases, according to the CPUC’s Energy Upgrade website.
Industries, including Pacific Power, must either reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or buy a limited quantity of pollution permits, also called “allowances,” the website states. Allowances can be bought through quarterly auctions managed by the Air Resources Board.
Some of the auction money is used by the state to fight climate change, and some is returned to Californians as a Climate Credit.
The credit amount varies between companies, depending on how clean their “energy mix” is, said Clegern.
While PG&E uses approximately 60 percent renewable resources, such as solar, biomass and wind power, Pacific Power relies more heavily on coal, making their emissions higher and their credit bigger.
Most of the electricity Pacific Power provides to their approximately 45,000 customers in northern California comes from the Klamath Dams, but company uses coal and natural gas in states like Wyoming, Utah and Idaho, said Gauntt.
Other participating companies are Liberty Utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric.
AB 32 was passed by the state legislature signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. The goal is to reduce California’s carbon pollution by 15 percent by the year 2020, to 1990 levels.
Right now, the Climate Credit is expected to continue on a semi-annual basis at least until the year 2020, according to the CPUC.
To learn more about the Credit, visit energyupgradeca.org/en/see-whats-new-and-fun/residential-climate-credit-faq