Even though it juxtaposed Pacific Gas & Electric as the poster child of utility efficiency programs and California as a leader in high electric rates, the House Energy & Commerce Energy & Power Subcommittee revealed general bipartisan interest in increasing federal support for decreasing consumption. \u201cExplain the difference between rates and bills,\u201d subcommittee chair Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) queried PG&E senior vice president, customer care, Helen Burt, Feb. 26. Rates pay for efficiency measures, but bills, she noted, are lower when efficiency is included. In California, but not in every state, the amount of money a utility makes is decoupled from the amount of energy it sells--or does not sell. Thus, the concept is not widely known by some representatives. Addressing concerns of the Republican majority, Burt emphasized that promoting energy efficient building design creates jobs. She highlighted the utility\u2019s two training facilities that develop the workforce in efficiency implementation. While some members noted the high cost of measures and balked against government requirements for minimal standards--like building codes--the general atmosphere was the bi-partisan \u201capple pie\u201d appeal of saving energy. What wasn\u2019t discussed, and what probably led to the Republican\/Democrat harmony, was the absence of money from the federal treasury to back new efficiency measures. The underlying, but largely unsaid reason for the hearing was now that the stimulus funds are tapped out, whether the government should reignite investing into saving energy. With across-the-board cuts pending this week, past governmental support was lauded, although new financing is not on the table. The single opening is the possibility that the Federal Housing Finance Agency may reconsider its opposition to Property Assessed Clean Energy programs, like those in California. The agency ruled in 2010 that using a mortgage to finance efficiency investments could jeopardize lenders. Before it considers changing its rule, the agency \u201cwants more data,\u201d Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary, energy efficiency, Department of Energy, said--leaving it open to the possibility, but not in the near term.