Despite controversy over commercialization, the California Public Utilities Commission gave the utilities funding for their low-emission vehicle programs?although the programs may not directly benefit ratepayers. Commissioners all agreed that the programs could benefit society at large by reducing air pollution. The whole concept of the low-emission vehicle program posed a dilemma for commissioners Carl Wood and Loretta Lynch. Lynch said she was ?wrestling? with the applicable laws and trying to find a nexus between the environmental benefits and ratepayer benefits. Of three competing proposals at the CPUC, commissioner Susan Kennedy?s plan was approved October 30. That authorization allocates about $8 million in total funds for the alternate-fuel vehicle programs of Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas, and Southern California Edison. The most controversial aspect of the utilities? research and development and infrastructure plans was one that, according to some, crossed the line to inappropriate advertising for utility products. The commission approved the plan anyway. ?It is thinly disguised advertising? for one specific method of liquefying natural gas, said Wood. The liquefied natural gas from the project, supported with ratepayer funds, is slated for utility fleet use. But PG&E, for instance, plans to turn around and sell, or give away, the gas. Lynch said it was unfair because utilities, particularly PG&E, would be able to recoup some of the costs. ?Their intent is to develop it for commercial use,? Lynch noted. The utility alternative fleet plans are supported by the city of San Francisco and a coalition of developers as well as environmentalists. ?Ratepayers will realize many substantial benefits, not the least of which are the significant environmental benefits,? said Randall Keen, attorney representing the group Clean Energy.