The California Public Utilities Commission opened a rulemaking aimed at upgrading power and natural gas utility service at 4,000 mobile home parks around the state. The internal distribution systems at the parks where hundreds of thousands of people live are widely considered substandard and unsafe. \u201cOur goal must be to assure safe and reliable service for people at mobile home parks,\u201d said commissioner Mike Florio Feb. 24 when the CPUC opened the rulemaking. The main issue for the CPUC is how to allocate the costs of having utilities take over and upgrade the internal distribution systems now owned by park operators. The typical set up in a park is a master metered connection with utilities. Park owners pay for the amounts of power and gas measured by that meter and then turn around and collect from individual mobile home residents based on sub meter readings. With most of the parks at least 40 years old, the internal distribution systems are in dubious states of repair, according to utilities. This, they say, raises concerns about gas leaks and the capability of electric distribution systems to adequately serve electronics and appliances typically used in homes today. The park owners are beyond the reach of the CPUC\u2019s regulation. Utilities generally have not taken over many of the internal distribution systems due to long-standing disagreements with park owners about how to pay for upgrades needed to meet today\u2019s utility standards. \u201cWe cannot allow jurisdictional boundaries to interfere with public safety,\u201d said commissioner Tim Simon. He called for \u201cclear\u201d and consistent safety standards that govern the park systems. The commission acted amid heightened concern about aging infrastructure, particularly gas pipelines in the wake of last year\u2019s San Bruno tragedy when a Pacific Gas & Electric pipeline exploded and killed eight people. The CPUC rulemaking--tentatively to run about 14 months--comes after the Legislature failed to deal with the nagging mobile home park issue last year. Lawmakers considered trying to speed the pace of utility takeovers of park systems, which were encouraged on a voluntary basis by a 1997 state law. Lawmakers did not reach consensus on the issues.