Order Instituting Rulemaking to Address Energy Utility Customer Bill Debt Accumulated During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Emergency Disaster Relief Program to Support California Utility Customers (R.) 18-03-011

California provides interim rate relief for COVID-19 by altering distribution of California Climate Credits

Assembly Bill 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, caps California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at 1990 levels and establishes a target to reach 1990 emission levels by 2020.[1]  Cap-and-Trade obligations are met through tradeable allowances, with each allowance equal to one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent gas. Each year, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issues a specific number of allowances directly to the investor-owned electric utilities to be sold for the purpose of mitigating GHG-related rate impacts to customers.  California has three large investor-owned electric utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E). The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E to distribute CARB’s directly issued allowance revenues to customers as an on-bill Climate Credit, which goes out to customers twice per year in April and October.[2]

On March 27, 2020, the Public Advocates Office of the CPUC filed an Emergency Motion to Provide Customer Relief Related to COVID-19.  The Emergency Motion proposed rescheduling the October 2020 Climate Credit to be distributed on PG&E and SCE customers’ bills to May of 2020.  Rescheduling the Climate Credit to April and May will provide energy cost savings for California customers most vulnerable to the pandemic’s economic impact when they are needed the most.

The CPUC adopted a modified version of the Public Advocates Office proposal in Decision (D.) 20-04-027.

Link to Public Advocates Office Motion

Link to CPUC D.20-04-027

Link to Public Advocates Office webpage

[1] Statutes of 2006, Chapter 488.

[2] D.12-12-033, p.181.

Proposed COVID Protections