Environment & Energy Report

California Uses Climate Cash to Cut Power Bills During Pandemic

April 3, 2020, 1:04 PM

California regulators want to use money from the state’s climate change cap-and-trade program to offset rising utility bills, as the coronavirus forces many residents to stay home.

Some of the proceeds from the system -- which makes power plants, factories and many businesses pay for the greenhouse gases they emit -- go to California residents twice each year as a credit on their utility bills. The credit, ranging from about $20 to $60 based on the utility, usually appears on bills for most customers in April and October.

Now, with most Californians under orders to remain home during the virus pandemic, California utility regulators have proposed splitting the October credit in two and moving it up to May and June. Residential electricity use has risen 15% to 20% in recent weeks and will likely lead to higher bills in the coming months, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

“The CPUC is taking action to ensure that this does not become an added hardship for people who have lost their jobs or are otherwise suffering economically due to Covid-19,” commission President Marybel Batjer said in a press release.

To contact the reporter on this story:
David R. Baker in San Francisco at dbaker116@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Joe Ryan at jryan173@bloomberg.net

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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