California’s Public Utilities Commission will meet next week to consider issuing Climate Credits earlier than usual to offset record high natural gas bills that have become unaffordable for many residents.
These credits come from money generated by the auction of emissions permits to companies that produce carbon pollution, including power plants and natural gas distributors. Some of the proceeds are also used by the state to fight climate change.
“The CPUC is set to consider getting the California Climate Credit of roughly $90 to $120 total on electric and gas bills as soon as possible to PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, and SoCalGas customers,” CPUC spokesperson Christopher Chow told KTLA. “Bear Valley, Liberty, PacifiCorp, and Southwest Gas customers would receive an accelerated credit too.”
The credits appear automatically on utility bills in April and October. If the commission approves the early release, they would likely appear in February.
2023 Electric California Climate Credit Schedule (CPUC)
A variety of factors has caused California natural gas bills to soar to two or three times what they were in January 2022. Among them, below normal temperatures in the western U.S. which has led to higher demand, lower natural gas imports from Canada, pipeline issues in West Texas and low storage levels in the Pacific region, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has asked the state of California to investigate the cause of the spike and develop a plan to avoid future spikes.
“Exorbitant natural gas price spikes are upending our constituents’ abilities to pay for the essential utility service that keeps them warm during these cold winter months,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement.