SAN DIEGO — San Diego Gas & Electric customers are expected to see a reduction in their energy bills next month with the distribution of another installment of state climate credits.
On Wednesday, SDG&E announced that the final credit for this year will be applied to electricity statements in October, with each household expected to receive about $60.70 to put towards their bill.
The climate credits are a biannual benefit given to millions of ratepayers as a part of California’s Greenhouse Cap-and-Trade program, which creates an economic incentive for investor-owned utility companies to invest in clean energy as a means of emission mitigation.
Companies are allotted a certain number of “emission allowances,” representing one ton of greenhouse gases they are allowed to emit, that is based on a statewide cap set by state energy officials.
According to the California Public Utilities Commission, investor-owned utility companies are then allowed to sell those allowances if they have taken additional steps to cut emissions below the cap to companies that pollute more.
Funds generated by the market for buying and selling permitted emissions can then be distributed as credits to residential customers, small businesses, industry or be put towards clean energy programs.
Usually, these credits are distributed twice a year, in April and October, according to the CPUC. Ratepayers receive two climate credits in April — one for natural gas and another for electricity — and a third electric climate credit in October.
This year, however, a particularly cold winter prompted state energy officials to accelerate the timeline, distributing the first rounds of climate credits in February or March.
With the two earlier installments for electric and gas credits, SDG&E customers will have received up to $164.80 for the year.
Compared to other investor-owned utility companies, SDG&E customers will be receiving the second highest credit amount next month, according to CPUC estimates. It comes behind Southern California Edison, which is distributing $71 credits.
“We appreciate working collaboratively with the California Public Utilities Commission to distribute the Climate Credit and offer some financial relief to our customers,” SDG&E Vice President of Customer Services Dana Golan said in a release.
There is no action required to receive the credit. All electricity customers, including community choice aggregation customers, will automatically receive the funds in their upcoming billing. SDG&E will also alert customers to the Climate Credit via email, the utility company said.
While the credits will bring some much needed relief to local ratepayers, those who still may be struggling to pay their bills are encouraged to visit SDG&E’s website to explore available resources for assisting with utility costs.
“Anyone struggling to pay their bill is encouraged to reach out to us,” Golan added. “We’re here to help connect them with financial assistance programs.”