CA Households Get $35 Free Credit from State's Cap-and-Trade System

CA Households Get $35 Free Credit from State's Cap-and-Trade System

The state of California is sending an average credit of $35 to residents who use one of three utilities: PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. The total amount of money returned to California residents is estimated to be between $5.7 billion to $22.6 billion, the San Jose Mercury reports. The credit comes after companies were given free permits that they were then forced to sell into the market.

It will not matter how much energy the households use or what their monthly bill is; they will be credited on their April bill, and receive a second credit in October. 

The credits, which are expected to be paid through 2020, are derived from power plants and industries that have been forced to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases.

In November 2012, California became the first state in the nation to auction greenhouse gas emission permits. PG&E and similar utilities received free carbon permits with the proviso that they sold them in the auction. Part of the revenue from the auction was targeted for the taxpayers.

State regulators want residents to use the refund to invest in energy efficiency products. Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said, “The climate credit is part of an array of programs developed by California to fight climate change and improve air quality. 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.”

Photo: Jakob Mosur/AP