Now that the Legislature has declined to renew a California Energy Commission program funded through a surcharge on utility ratepayers, the agency\u2019s deputy director for research and development is urging the commission to proceed \u201ccautiously and deliberately\u201d when it comes to funding research and development projects. \u201cWe are reviewing our proposed research awards, as well as new solicitation releases,\u201d said Laurie ten Hope. \u201cWe\u2019re considering what changes to make, if any, to our previously-approved investment plans,\u201d she told commissioners Sept. 21. She noted that the program may be reauthorized and that the commission will continue to manage funded projects. \u201cWe will resume a solicitation schedule shortly to fully utilize remaining funds and to fulfill our contractual obligations,\u201d she added. Earlier this month, the Legislature could not muster the votes needed to renew the 1.5 percent \u201cpublic goods\u201d charge on electricity bills, which has funded a number of state programs to advance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy research. At the CEC, the surcharge provided money for the public interest energy research program, as well as efficiency and renewable power programs. The fee, which was expected to raise about $400 million in the coming year, adds about $1.50\/month to the average household utility bill. With the reauthorization failure, the program is set to expire on Jan.1, 2012. At this week\u2019s meeting, the commission also agreed to fund two San Diego Gas & Electric projects\u2014one, to assess the impact of plug-in electric vehicles on the energy grid and another to test the operation of energy storage units at private residences. An electric vehicle charging simulator is set to evaluate load and power quality effects of multiple vehicle charging. It\u2019s designed so that SDG&E wouldn\u2019t be the sole company able to benefit from the project. \u201cThe EV simulator is something that other utilities can use to assess the impacts of electric vehicles to their distribution system,\u201d Bill Torre, chief engineer with SDG&E\u2019s research and development division, told the commission. \u201cThis indicates the type of project that we like to see going forward,\u201d commission chair Bob Weisenmiller said, \u201cparticularly one where hopefully all the utilities in California can benefit from the research, along with all the public agencies.\u201d Of the $1.2 million, $539,000 is earmarked to \u201clook at small amounts of storage placed on the low voltage side of the residences and see if those, operated together or independently, will be a more cost-effective solution than operating storage at a substation level,\u201d Jamie Patterson, CEC Public Interest Energy Research program senior electrical engineer, said.