It was not the expected revenues. California\u2019s first greenhouse gas emissions rights auction last month netted only $55.8 million in revenue to the state. If revenue from the upcoming two auctions in this fiscal year is similar that would add up to about an 80 percent shortfall from the $1 billion in budgeted revenue. Utilities received $230 million from auctioning off the credits the California Air Resources Board gave them for free. Department of Finance deputy director H.D. Palmer provided the net revenues to California Current Dec. 12 after CARB spokesperson Dave Clegern said that the information would not be made public earlier in the week. Palmer said the current state budget projects $1 billion in revenue from the emissions rights auction this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2013 (see column below). Of that, he added, $500 million is to be used to fund greenhouse gas reduction projects. Two more auctions are scheduled this fiscal year. That should increase the current $56 million from the cap-and-trade program. Palmer could not break down the revenue split between the state\u2019s investor-owned utilities and public utilities that may have sold emissions rights in the auction--nor could Clegern. Money that investor-owned utilities receive is subject to control by the California Public Utilities Commission. The commission proposes utilities use the money to offset the expected higher cost of electricity for their customers through bill credits and semi-annual cash payments--the so-called \u201cclimate dividend.\u201d Under the Air Board\u2019s cap-and-trade program, the state gives emissions rights to utilities for free to cover the carbon emissions related to the electricity they provide their customers. Utilities have to auction the credits they don\u2019t need to cover their own generation facilities. Independent generators then have to buy credits in the auction to cover their emissions, passing the cost of the emissions rights along in the price of the power they provide utilities. That cost then is passed on to retail electricity customers, who are to recoup the difference through the rebates paid by utilities. Air Board officials and some environmental groups call the process \u201cputting a price\u201d on carbon. Unlike investor-owned utilities, publicly owned utility auction proceeds are controlled by public utility governing boards. Clegern could not say if, or how, the Air Board may oversee using public utility money to make sure it\u2019s spent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The state conducted its first auction under its carbon cap-and-trade program on Nov. 14. Almost 28 million tons of allowances changed hands at an average price of around $10\/ton. The vast majority of purchasers in the auction were regulated entities under the program. They bought 97 percent of the 2013 allowances and 91 percent of the 2015 allowances sold, according to the Air Board. The cap-and-trade program--with its regular emissions allowance auctions from this time going forward through 2020--is the centerpiece of AB 32, the state\u2019s climate protection law passed in 2006. That law aims to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a cut of about 15 percent.