SCE customers get largest climate credit yet in April

SCE customers get $86 rebate, the largest amount yet, on their upcoming bill through California Climate Credit program

Derek Fleming
Published March 22, 2024  • 
10:00 am

TULARE COUNTY – The customers of Southern California Edison (SCE) and other electricity suppliers in California will receive a rebate on their April bill through a program called the California Climate Credit, which aims to reduce the cost of bills to millions of residents. 

For SCE customers, the credit will be $86. This is the highest payout yet in the 10-year-old program that aims to reduce costs while promoting smarter energy use. Customers will see the credit depending on the date of their billing cycle. 

“Customers can look on their bill statement and there will be a line item saying California Climate Credit,” Gabriela Omales, Media Relations Advisor for SCE said in an interview with The Sun-Gazette. “It might be earlier in the month or later in the month.” Omales said that residential and small business SCE customers will receive the rebate in April. 

The credit is provided through a California program funded by cap-and-trade auction proceeds. The auctions allow energy production companies, along with other industrial users, to buy and sell credits when they are unable to meet the goals of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions law. 

The amount of the credit is determined by many factors, according to the California Public Utilities Commission. Among these are the number of credits allocated to each utility and the value the credits hold at auction. The number of customers served by the utility is also a factor in determining how much the credit will be. 

The proceeds from the quarterly auctions fund the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and the California Climate Investments Program, as well as provide rebates to customers. The amount paid through the auctions determines the amount customers receive. Last year, SCE customers received $71, up from $59 the previous year as graduated requirements tightened on greenhouse gas emitters. 

“We have 5 million customers, all of the 5 million will receive the credit,” Omales said. “It is something automatic, customers don’t need to take any action or make any sort of request for it. The credit is automatically applied to their bill.”

The Climate Credit is one of the ways that energy providers offer help and support to customers while also promoting energy efficiency and reducing the costs of energy bills. California has some of the highest electricity rates in the U.S. and is 25% above the national average. 

Recent legislative efforts in the state have sought to tie electricity rates to income rather than the current system, which charges all Californians based on the kilowatts-per-hour of usage. Legislators argue that the system unfairly hurts lower-income residents by forcing them to pay the same rates as more well-off customers. Estimates are that about one-quarter of Californians struggle to pay their electricity bills each month. 

The state, utility providers and energy production companies are currently seeking ways to address climate change, maintain an ailing grid system that has been responsible for the worst fires in state history and plan for an electrified vehicle mandate requiring all new vehicles in the state to be electric by 2035. 

Omales said that customers who are struggling with high energy costs should explore options available through programs already available. From reducing bills to providing financing for energy-efficient appliances, companies such as SCE have options available that will save customers money and provide relief to the grid to prevent brownouts and blackouts. 

“We know that customers will be interested in learning about savings programs, and assistance programs for high bills. The California Climate Credit will help with their April bill,” Omales said. “We do have several other options if customers want to continue tapping into savings throughout the year.”

The credit is provided twice a year, first in April and again in October. Natural gas providers will also provide a credit in April and October to offset energy costs. There is currently no sunset on the program and it is anticipated that it will continue at least through 2030.

Derek Fleming
The Sun-Gazette | Contributor