Energy Upgrade California Frequently Asked Questions

What is Energy Upgrade California?

Energy Upgrade California™ is a state initiative to help Californians take action to save energy and conserve natural resources, help reduce demand on the electricity grid, and make informed energy management choices at home and at work. It is supported by an alliance of the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, utilities, regional energy networks, local governments, businesses, and nonprofits to help communities meet state and local energy and climate action goals. Funding comes from investor-owned utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

How was Energy Upgrade California created?

On Sept. 18, 2008, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted the state’s first Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, presenting a single roadmap to achieve maximum energy savings across all major groups and sectors in California. This comprehensive Plan for 2009 to 2020 is the state’s first integrated framework of goals and strategies for saving energy in the government, utility, and private sectors and holds energy efficiency to its role as the highest priority resource in meeting California’s energy needs.

The Energy Upgrade California works to motivate consumers to take action on to better manage their energy use -. The program strives to both increase awareness and education on energy management and facilitate the ability to act and incorporate technological advances or behavior change using all available resources to reduce energy and choose clean energy options.

How can Energy Upgrade California help me?

Energy Upgrade California is an educational resource for California residents and small business owners for energy management concepts and programs that can help you better manage your energy use.

Browse our site for more information on how to save energy and water and manage your use, what clean energy options are readily available how to find rebates and incentives, and - on the state of California’s energy goals.

What kind of financing is available for energy efficient home improvements?

There is a range of financing options available to help reduce your out-of-pocket costs for energy upgrades to your home. These options can vary depending on the upgrade measures, ; for more information on rebates and incentives in your area, please use our rebate finder.

What is the Climate Credit?

The California Climate Credit is your share of money from a state program that is fighting climate change. It happens automatically in April and October for most California homeowners and monthly for most California small businesses – and it’s yours to keep.

Learn more about the Climate Credit for households

Learn more about the Climate Credit for small businesses

What is AB32?

AB 32 is California’s law to reduce carbon pollution and fight climate change. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32, mandates that California reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and then maintain that reduction of about 15% from current levels. For more information on AB32: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/cc.htm.

What is the Cap-and-Trade Program?

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as “AB 32,” addresses climate change by placing an economy-wide “cap” on major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as refineries, power plants, industrial facilities and transportation fuels. Each year the cap is lowered by approximately three percent, ensuring that California is reducing greenhouse gases. Industries in this program must either reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or buy a limited quantity of pollution permits, also called “allowances”. Allowances can be bought through quarterly auctions managed by the Air Resources Board. This component of the state’s effort to combat climate change creates a powerful incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move to cleaner forms of energy.

For more information about the Global Warming Solutions Act, visit the Air Resource Board’s website at http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/cc.htm

Will my electricity rates be increased as a result of the price of carbon?

California has programs to encourage electricity providers to shift toward clean sources of energy, and one of those programs results in power plants facing a cost when they produce electricity from fuels that put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These costs are reflected in all customers’ electricity generation rates – the portion of electricity bills that represents the costs to generate electricity.

The rate increases for residential, small business, and some manufacturing customers will either be fully or partially offset by Climate Credits. The goal is to protect customers from overall cost increases on their electricity bills and to give people additional opportunities to invest in energy and money-saving upgrades.

Which government agency is in charge of enforcing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction laws?

The lead agency is the California Air Resources Board (ARB). This is also the agency that sets state standards to clean the air and promote clean vehicles and clean fuels.

Where can I find more information about California’s efforts to fight climate change?

For more detailed information, the ARB has recently released an updated plan for meeting the goals of AB 32. You can find it here: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/scopingplan.htm

Climate Credit Frequently Asked Questions for California Households

I saw the credit on my bill and came across an advertisement for the California Climate Credit, What is it?

The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change. It is a credit that eligible households and small business will see automatically on their electricity bills starting this April.

The Climate Credit is from a program designed to fight climate change by limiting the amount of carbon pollution our largest industries put into the atmosphere. Under California’s climate law, power plants and industries must pay for permits when they put carbon pollution into the air. Some of that money is used by the state to fight climate change, and some goes to households and small businesses to assist them with the carbon pollution costs in electricity that comes from non-renewable resources, like coal and natural gas. The credit on your electricity bill is your share of that money, and you can use it to save money today, and to save money in the future when you invest in energy-saving devices and home improvements.

Who is eligible for the California Climate Credit?

All eligible small business customers in California that receive electricity from an investor owned utility company, electric service provider or community choice aggregation provider. This includes customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, Pacific Power, and Liberty Utilities, and the community choice aggregators Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power.

Why am I receiving a California Climate Credit?

The California Public Utilities Commission created the Climate Credit to assist households and small businesses adapt to a cleaner-energy economy. The Climate Credit helps California families and businesses with the increased cost of goods and services produced with polluting energy like coal and gas, and it helps them to invest in cleaner, energy-saving choices.

Does the credit amount vary by electricity provider for residential customers?

Yes. However, the California Climate Credit is distributed equally to each electricity provider’s residential customers in April and October of each year, regardless of energy consumption or bill amount.

When is the California Climate Credit applied to small business customers’ bills?

For small business customers, the Climate Credit appears as a rate reduction on every bill.

Is the credit amount connected to the amount of electricity I use?

No, all residential customers of the same electricity provider will receive an equal amount regardless of the amount of electricity you use. Getting the credit and the amount received are not connected to your use. You are getting this credit as a share of payment from the state’s large industrial emitters.

Does it apply to the gas portion of my bill?

No, just the electricity portion.

Will Net Energy Metered or NEM customers receive the credit on their bill?

Yes.

What if there is a credit remaining on the account balance after the application of the California Climate Credit?

Any carryover balance will be applied to your next month’s bill. If there is a balance, customers may call and ask for a refund check instead of having the balance applied to your next month’s bill.

How is the small business Climate Credit calculated?

The California Public Utilities Commission has adopted rules about how these credits are calculated. To learn more, visit the CPUC’s website: www.cpuc.ca.gov/ClimateCredit.

For how many years will I receive a Climate Credit?

Right now the Climate Credit is expected to continue until at least 2020.

Will the size of my Climate Credit Change over time?

Yes. The size of the Climate Credit depends on a large number of factors that can change from year to year, but the credit will always be calculated according to rules established by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Where is the money from / how is it generated?

Funds for the Climate Credit come from a state program to fight climate change by limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that large polluters can release into the atmosphere. Each year the state auctions a limited number of emission permits so that California can meet its goal of reducing its overall emissions down to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Some of the auction money is used by the state to fight climate change, and some is returned to many Californians as a Climate Credit. This program is one of many developed as a result of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which put California at the forefront of efforts to battle climate change.

Climate Credit Frequently Asked Questions for California Small Businesses

I saw the credit on my bill and came across an advertisement for the California Climate Credit, What is it?

The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change. It is a credit that eligible households and small business will see automatically on their electricity bills starting this April.

The Climate Credit is from a program designed to fight climate change by limiting the amount of carbon pollution our largest industries put into the atmosphere. Under California’s climate law, power plants and industries must pay for permits when they put carbon pollution into the air. Some of that money is used by the state to fight climate change, and some goes to households and small businesses to assist them with the carbon pollution costs in electricity that comes from non-renewable resources, like coal and natural gas. The credit on your electricity bill is your share of that money, and you can use it to save money today, and to save money in the future when you invest in energy-saving devices and home improvements.

Who is eligible for the California Climate Credit?

All eligible small business customers in California that receive electricity from an investor owned utility company, electric service provider or community choice aggregation provider. This includes customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, Pacific Power, and Liberty Utilities, and the community choice aggregators Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power.

Which small business customers are eligible to receive the California Climate Credit?

The small business climate credit is available to any commercial, industrial or agricultural customer that typically uses less than 20 kilowatts (kW) of maximum power in a month. Nonprofit organizations and schools also qualify. These customers are all eligible if their power demand hasn’t exceeded 20 kW more than three times in the last year.

When is the California Climate Credit applied to small business customers’ bills?

For small business customers, the Climate Credit appears as a rate reduction on every bill.

Does the credit amount vary by electricity provider for small business customers?

Yes. The small business Climate Credit depends on the greenhouse gas emissions content in each energy provider’s supply.TYes. The small business Climate Credit depends on the greenhouse gas emissions content in each energy provider’s supply.

Does it apply to the gas portion of my bill?

No, just the electricity portion.

How is the small business Climate Credit calculated?

The California Public Utilities Commission has adopted rules about how these credits are calculated. To learn more, visit the CPUC’s website: www.cpuc.ca.gov/ClimateCredit.

Is the credit amount connected to the amount of electricity I use?

No, all residential customers of the same electricity provider will receive an equal amount regardless of the amount of electricity you use. Getting the credit and the amount received are not connected to your use. You are getting this credit as a share of payment from the state’s large industrial emitters.

Will Net Energy Metered or NEM customers receive the credit on their bill?

Yes.

For how many years will I receive a Climate Credit?

Right now the Climate Credit is expected to continue until at least 2020.

Will the size of my Climate Credit Change over time?

Yes. The size of the Climate Credit depends on a large number of factors that can change from year to year, but the credit will always be calculated according to rules established by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Where is the money from / how is it generated?

Funds for the Climate Credit come from a state program to fight climate change by limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that large polluters can release into the atmosphere. Each year the state auctions a limited number of emission permits so that California can meet its goal of reducing its overall emissions down to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Some of the auction money is used by the state to fight climate change, and some is returned to many Californians as a Climate Credit. This program is one of many developed as a result of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which put California at the forefront of efforts to battle climate change.