Climate Credit Moved Up, Relief for SDG&E Customers
Customers Could Receive More Than $100, February and March
Last updated 3/6/2023 at 10:09am
SDG&E residential customers who have both gas and electric service will see a total of about $104 in bill credit on their February and March SDG&E statements, earlier than in previous years, following a decision made today by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to move up the timing of two of three scheduled installments of California Climate Credit to provide winter bill relief to residents statewide. California gas consumers have been experiencing record high bills as a result of unprecedented market volatility in natural gas commodity prices in the West.
The typical residential customer’s gas bill (commodity plus delivery charges and other mandated fees and taxes) is expected to decrease to ~$110 in February, from ~$225 in January.
“Lower gas prices are certainly welcome news, but we recognize many of our customers still need support to deal with higher gas bills, and we’ve developed solutions to ease the financial strain,” said SDG&E Vice President of Customer Services Dana Golan. “We are here to help and encourage customers to take advantage of our assistance programs, bill discounts and energy efficiency programs that can help provide additional bill savings.”
SDG&E’s residential gas customers will see a $43.40 credit on their February bill. Electric customers will see a $60.70 credit on their March bill and the same amount on a bill in the second half of the year. Customers will see the climate credit reflected on their next bill. Billing cycles vary for customers, so not everyone will see the bill credit at the same time of the month.
This year’s climate credit totals up to $164.80. In the past three years, SDG&E disbursed the climate credit in three installments with the gas credit appearing in the April billing cycle, and the electric credit appearing in the August and September billing cycles.
“Over the past few weeks, SDG&E and CPUC staff met several times to explore the feasibility of moving up the climate credit to provide our customers with bill relief,” said Golan. “In anticipation of today’s vote, our billing group has been working hard to put procedures into place to accelerate the climate credit as quickly as possible.”
The California Climate Credit is a state program that requires power plants, natural gas providers, and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits. The credit on customers’ bills represents their share of the payments from the state’s program and provides customers with an increased opportunity to invest in energy-saving products.
There is no action required to receive the credit. All gas and electricity customers, including community choice aggregation customers, will automatically receive the credit in their upcoming billing cycles. SDG&E will also alert customers to the climate credit via email.
SDG&E does not set the commodity price for natural gas. Instead, natural gas commodity prices are determined by national and regional markets. SDG&E buys natural gas in those markets on behalf of residential and small business customers, and the cost of buying that gas is billed to those customers with no markup, meaning SDG&E does not profit from the movement of gas commodity prices.
But good news could be coming to most SDG&E customers.
Under the federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), about $10 million is available to help San Diego Gas & Electric customers who are past due on their bill payments. About $7 million of that amount was allocated for 2021 – 22 and is expected to expire by June 30, 2023.
Individuals and families who qualify for LIHEAP can potentially receive assistance ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on their income, household size and past-due balance. Over the past year, SDG&E worked with two local nonprofit organizations to help process $5.5 million in LIHEAP payments to offset the overdue balances of about 7,200 customers.
Customers who are struggling to pay their SDG&E bill are encouraged to visit sdge.com/assistance to explore all of the resources available to them – bill discounts, debt relief payment arrangements and no-cost energy efficiency upgrades that can help lower their bill long-term.
The Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, funded entirely by SDG&E shareholder dollars (not ratepayer dollars), provides eligible customers with up to $300 to offset their outstanding bills. The federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) offers financial help ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on household income, size and past due balances.