With competing bankruptcy settlement plans for Pacific Gas & Electric absorbing most of regulators? attention, the California Public Utilities Commission on December 18 put off setting new utility procurement policies?including whether to make permanent the agency?s ban on utility affiliate transactions. Instead, it approved short-term plans and contract terms for qualifying-facility deals that are about to expire. The CPUC?s overriding goal for long-term procurement planning is to anchor the state?s resource adequacy needs. As part of this goal, several competing commission plans promote reserve requirements of between 15 percent and 17 percent. But the approved decision focused on resource needs for 2004 only. The truncated procurement plan includes provisions that for the coming year investor-owned utilities will need to secure reserve levels totaling roughly 7 percent of peak demand; spot-market purchases exceeding 5 percent of monthly needs will have to be justified; and utilities will be able to strike deals with terms of up to five years. The ?procurement review group? (PRG), a body composed of nonmarket participants who are privy to secret procurement data prior to commission review, will be maintained for another year. There was a move by commissioner Loretta Lynch to eliminate the group. It has become a ?substitute for an open and transparent review process,? she said. While an earlier version of the plan had indeed cemented the ban on affiliate transactions, the approved plan said the matter would be resolved in an upcoming decision on procurement policy. As for QFs, smaller independent generators that have contracts with utilities, those with contracts that have expired or are set to expire next year were authorized to sign standard-offer contracts.