Competition for administering energy efficiency didn?t end with the California Public Utilities Commission awarding utilities authority over the lion?s share of $578 million in public-goods-charge funds for 2004-05 through decisions last December and this February. Consumer advocates and local governments are floating a plan to create an independent administrator that they say would eliminate bias in entities picking their own programs. Meanwhile, investor-owned utilities are pushing for complete control over selection and management. These proposals are before the CPUC as part of a rulemaking to further the goals of the state Energy Action Plan, which made energy efficiency the top priority for energy policy. The agency also committed through this proceeding to tackle long-running disputes over who should administer burgeoning efficiency efforts. The city of San Francisco wants to compete through community aggregation, said Jeanne M. Sol?, attorney for the city. ?But we believe [private utilities] hold the keys to one of the services we provide, energy-efficiency programs,? by selecting who gets funds picking contractors to implement them, said Sol?. Under the plan by San Francisco, the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, The Utility Reform Network, and other proponents, private utilities would still run—but not pick—programs. Advocates of an independent administrator say that this would eliminate an unfair advantage private utilities have when they are able to both pick and implement programs. Private utilities argue that they should select programs because they have the most experience designing and implementing them. In this case, private utilities have the support of municipal utilities. Under a joint competing proposal, investor-owned utilities would call the shots on program selection and administration. Currently, the CPUC and utilities oversee these functions. Three advisory groups would draw on knowledge of energy experts and industry representatives to provide input on administration. The Coalition of California Utility Employees has signed on to this plan. Jim Parks, program manager for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), said his agency has successfully coordinated with private utilities on air conditioner rebates and other energy-efficiency programs to swap ideas and offer customers in different service territories consistent rebate terms. According to Parks, one of SMUD?s concerns about an independent administrator is that in the event of a fiscal crisis, funds going to this entity could be raided before funds for private utilities. In addition, he noted that this new entity could have steep start-up costs, potentially ?millions of dollars that could be better spent directly on energy efficiency.? A draft decision on energy-efficiency administration is expected this summer. As part of the rulemaking, the CPUC is also looking at energy-efficiency savings goals, performance incentives, and avoided costs.