Utilities Will Pay Customers 'Climate Dividends'
California households will receive rebates twice a year as part of the state's cap-and-trade program. The program cuts greenhouse gases by requiring companies to buy the right to pollute. Some of that money goes to the utilities, and the utilities are required to use portions of it for customer rebates.
Jasmin Ansar is an economist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. She said utility bills won't go up as part of cap-and-trade, but the program may drive some costs higher as producers of other products pass on the cost of carbon. The "climate dividends" are meant to help offset those costs.
"It's a more general payment from the polluters back to the ratepayers," Ansar said. "It's a reflection of the fact that yes, there will be cost increases as a result of the program."
The climate dividends will be between $20 and $40 each time. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the payments on Thursday, and customers will begin receiving them next year.