Pacific Gas and Electric Company is launching a carbon offset program for residential and business customers. ClimateSmart, which PG&E is calling a first-of-its-kind program, is scheduled to launch in spring 2007.
PG&E customers can sign up voluntarily and pay extra on their monthly utility bill based on energy usage, which will fund environmental projects aimed at removing carbon dioxide from the air. PG&E says that the amount removed from the air will equal the amount of greenhouse gasses associated with the customer’s energy use.
Once a customer enrolls, PG&E will calculate how many pounds of CO2 they are emitting based on monthly natural gas and electricity usage. PG&E estimates that the monthly amount, for the average residential customer who chooses to enroll, would be an increase of about three percent or $4.31 each month per month.
PG&E anticipates that ClimateSmart will receive approximately $20 million in its first three years, with a goal of removing two million tons of carbon dioxide from the air. This reduction would be the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road for one year. The first carbon reduction projects will focus on forest restoration and conservation projects in California.
PG&E plans to enroll as the first participant in the program by committing more than $1 million of shareholder funding over the next three years to offset the energy use in the company’s offices, service centers, maintenance facilities, and other company buildings.