Pulled last minute from the California Public Utilities Commission\u2019s Jan. 12 agenda was a proposed rulemaking to improve the controversial program that allows utility shareholders to reap financial rewards when the investor-owned utilities achieve energy savings within 65 percent of the commission\u2019s targets. The proposed rulemaking, by administrative law judge Thomas Pulsifer, aims to increase energy efficiency reaped from the triennial utility programs \u201cto achieve the maximum socially-desirable level of energy efficiency programs and services, while protecting ratepayers\u2019 interests through appropriate accountability safeguards.\u201d The procedure under reconsideration is focused on shareholder rewards for the 2010-2012 cycle and the 2013-14 period. According to the tentative decision, the CPUC plans to pay more attention to utilities\u2019 up-front costs and the energy efficiency program design lives. Regulators also may recalibrate savings, offering different incentive rates, with higher ones for programs that are more complex. The current risk-reward mechanism was adopted in September 2007 to provide financial \u201ccarrots\u201d to utilities for energy savings in line with other supply side procurement strategies. The estimate of savings calculated by the utilities and CPUC\u2019s Energy Division clashed. In the 2006-08 cycle, the commission approved $211 million for utility bonuses. There is $77 million for 2009 pending before the commission. The risk-reward concept was launched as Pacific Gas & Electric emerged from bankruptcy in 2003 and other investor-owned utilities were on shaky financial ground. The move was to show that the state was providing stability in order to lure investors. Despite a push back from consumer advocates and community-based organizations that wanted to administer efficiency programs at a more local level, utilities were authorized to run the programs across their geographic territories and reap rewards for their efforts. The matter was brought back to the CPUC by commissioner Mark Ferron. He launched a proceeding in August 2011.