California’s largest GHG emitting businesses paid $10.99/MT for the right to release carbon November 14, raising $233 million for the state and its energy companies in its first ever carbon permit auction. The permit price was below market expectations despite strong demand from utility companies, manufacturers, and oil refineries. Brokers and analysts had predicted a clearing price between $11.75 and $12.50/MT. Compliance entities and financial institutions purchased all of the 23.1 million permits offered at the auction to cover 2013 emissions; the money will be given to the state's utility companies, which must use it to protect ratepayers. The auction is a critical step ahead of the cap and trade program's official January 1, 2013, start date. The state also auctioned 39.5 million permits that cover 2015 emissions, but only sold about 5.6 million of those allowances, which cleared at $10/MT, the baseline price allowed under the program's rules. The $55 million raised by the sale of those allowances will be deposited into the state's new Air Pollution Control Fund.