This year could be a landmark time for energy efficiency if the California Public Utilities Commission?s activity at the end of 2004 turns into action. In late December, commissioner Susan Kennedy requested feedback on how the state can comply with the governor?s ?green buildings? executive order, and she, along with administrative law judge Meg Gottstein, solicited stakeholder input on the design of post-2005 energy policy rules. In addition, a November 29 draft decision by Kennedy and Gottstein would allow utilities to administer efficiency funds as well as deciding what programs should receive ratepayers? public-purpose funds. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?s December 15 ?green buildings? executive order calls for investments in state buildings to reduce electricity consumption by 10 percent per square foot by 2010 and double that amount by 2015. Kennedy requested ideas for an immediate outreach campaign and programs for the commercial sector, as well as future funding-cycle development, on December 29. For post-2005 efficiency programs, Kennedy and Gottstein want to draft new rules that focus on efficiency programs based on ?end-use savings potential.? In prior decisions, the commission allowed reporting on programs and measures, as well as end use?leading to a wealth of data, but information that is not easily digested. Workshops on the issue begin February 15 and will include compiling a glossary of energy-efficiency terms and definitions. The draft decision designing a post-2005 administrative structure for energy-efficiency programs would allow utilities to plan and manage programs, as well as to make ?decisions on what programs to fund with ratepayer dollars.? If approved by the commission, utilities would assemble a portfolio of efficiency programs, manage them on a daily basis, and decide what nonutility organizations would receive program funds. Critics, such as Barbara George, director of Women?s Energy Matters, charge that the draft decision ignores data that show third-party administrators are less wasteful with efficiency funds than utilities. She also notes the proposed decision would throw out historical scoring criteria in favor of utility direction and would discard proportional distribution of funds to the ratepayer category from which they are collected. Kennedy and Gottstein are reluctant to allow deregulation to creep into energy-efficiency programs after what they call the ?painful? experience during the energy crisis. ?Our experiences in California have left us unwilling to rely solely on competitive market solutions to meet customers? energy needs,? they stated. They added that if utilities aren?t in control, statewide programs would cease to exist and customers would be faced with too many choices, losing program leverage. Kennedy and Gottstein assert that returning utilities to a leadership role in efficiency follows utilities? return to resource planning?after deregulation caused abandonment of that role. With utilities at the helm of resource planning again, Kennedy and Gottstein noted that allowing third parties to administer the funds would mean an extra layer between utilities and control of their resource plans.