Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to break new political ground when he asked the California Public Utilities Commission to freeze its ratemaking authority for six months. In a letter sent December 22 to the CPUC, Schwarzenegger acknowledged he has no authority over the constitutionally created commission but urged its members to comply with his November 17 executive decree telling the California Energy Commission (CEC) and all other regulatory agencies to halt their rulemaking for half a year (see Energy Circuit, November 21). Voluntary compliance ?will benefit all of California? and help the state?s businesses, said the governor?s letter. While the commission had no formal response as of press time, Schwarzenegger?s written request rubbed two of the CPUC members the wrong way. ?If his directive were followed, it would shut down about half our operations,? said commissioner Carl Wood. He added that complying with the governor?s order would ?interfere with our duties under the state constitution and state law.? Wood noted that the cost to business is always factored in when the commission considers regulations. He and commissioner Loretta Lynch suspect the real motive behind the request is to stall pending telecommunications regulations opposed by the industry. Both CPUC members? terms expire at the end of this year. Commissioner Geoffrey Brown concurred with the telecom ruling angle. ?I respect [Schwarzenegger?s] request, but it?s imperative to put this matter to rest,? Brown said. At some point, consumer protection rules for the wireless industry should be enacted, he added. ?As much of a micromanager as Governor Gray Davis was, he never dared to halt our regulatory making,? Lynch added. Earlier this week, the CEC sent out a notice stating that the governor made an exception to his rule for the CEC?s recently passed regulations specifying who can leave the grid without paying an exit fee.