Almost two years after California received millions of federal stimulus dollars, public agency spending on energy efficiency and low-income home weatherization continues to lag. Although funds are being applied, Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee chair Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) raised concerns at an Oct. 31 hearing about the ability of recipient agencies to expend all the money before the spring 2012 deadline. \u201cSeptember and October updates are encouraging, but challenges still remain,\u201d said Padilla at the fifth hearing evaluating the retrofit spending. He and others are striving to ensure California holds onto the federal awards. Additional federal rules and delayed guidance, as well as time needed to lay new program groundwork, were cited as key reasons for spending delays. The California Energy Commission received $226 million in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funds for several clean energy programs. It must be disbursed by April 30, 2012. After a stinging audit by the Department of Finance, the commission altered project funding and some programs, including by raising or lowering funding amounts and expanding program coverage to increase the odds the federal grants would be spent. The Energy Commission has yet to spend about 42 percent of the federal funds. CEC executive director Rob Oglesby noted his agency has transferred about $9 million to various higher performing contracts from ones that are unable to spend all their funds. \u201cWe are monitoring progress and providing assistance to our recipients to help them invoice quicker,\u201d added Susanne Garfield, Energy Commission spokesperson. CEC estimated its use of the federal funds has created about 2,658 jobs. The state Department of General Services won applause at the hearing for its progress on energy efficiency upgrades in state buildings. Padilla called for additional unspent federal funds to be turned over to DGS to keep them from reverting to the federal Department of Energy. \u201cDGS worked aggressively to move the funds,\u201d he said. The Energy Commission directed $25 million to General Services. Legislation by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) enacted last session authorizes the Energy Commission to transfer up to $50 million to its sister agency that handles energy efficiency retrofits of state buildings. The Department of Community Services was given $185 million. Its expenditures rose to 65 percent, or $103 million, for insulation and window replacements, as well as other weatherization steps for low-income homes, according to John Wagner, department director. The non-profit Local Government Commission spent $10.3 million, or 40 percent of the efficiency funds the Energy Commission directed its way, since its March 2011 launch. It expects to increase that percentage to 57 percent by the end of November, according to Kate Meis, local government associate director. She said the full amount to increase energy efficiency under the state\u2019s Energy Upgrade program is expected to be spent by next spring. To date, there have been 1,800 efficiency home retrofits, creating or retaining more than 700 jobs. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District received $19.9 million and has spent a third of the money, $5.2 million, to date. \u201cSince spring, we\u2019ve seen a flurry of activity,\u201d said Rachel Huang SMUD manager for program and operations planning. She said there was an average 75 single and multi- family efficiency retrofits\/month, with a total of 559 so far. At the beginning of August, the State Auditor revealed that less than 20 percent of the $411 million in federal funds awarded to California had been spent. By early next year, the Auditor is to release a follow up report on the agencies\u2019 expenditure of federal stimulus money.