Although shopping is one of my least favorite things, when buying something--be it a cell phone service or earrings--I\u2019m the deal maven. I will, though, pay a premium for high quality goods or services. But I know both consumer paths can be riddled with undisclosed fees and strive to avoid them. Scrutinizing price and quality is also a big part of being a journalist. Scrutinizing the costs of policy, rules and\/or laws, helps inform you dear readers of what is at stake. Thus, it was quite frustrating to slog through the 343-page proposed final greenhouse gas reduction blueprint by the California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission that seeks a 40 percent reduction in climate change emissions from the electricity sector. The blueprint was released with a smattering of fanfare at the end of last week but did not provide hard numbers. This week, the California Air Resources Board released its own broader economic analysis of its scoping plan aimed to cut greenhouse gases in the state. That agency is tasked with implementing that state\u2019s climate change law, AB 32, which requires a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The commissions\u2019 report was light on data and heavy on rhetoric. The CPUC got around the controversies over costs and uncertainties by calling the underlying economic model \u201ca policy tool.\u201d In contrast, I could have gone shopping with the second report. It\u2019s full of details and includes less squishy prices. The California Public Utilities and Energy Commission\u2019s report tells the California Air Resources Board how they think the energy sector can best help California reach its carbon emissions target under the climate protection law. Missing though was any solid cost-benefit analysis, although the plan notes that meeting the reduction targets will require a \u201cmassive regulatory shift.\u201d We know rates will go up but don\u2019t know by how much. We have got to cool down our overheated Earth, but I want to be able to weigh the price and quality--and get a clue to how well it will work. \u201cWhat we determined is that cost impacts are going to vary enormously\u2026We have not succeeded in making finite conclusions,\u201d Jackie Pfannenstiel, CEC chair, said at a September 16 press briefing. The kWh costs are predicted to rise under the plan but utility bills may drop because of lower consumption. A doubling of energy efficiency is urged in the proposal, however, the costs of reaching that level are uncertain. CPUC president Mike Peevey, the co-author, did not participate, but was represented by his two advisors at the briefing. Media question: \u201cWhat\u2019s the expected revenue from the recommended auction of 20 percent of the carbon allocations.\u201d Agencies\u2019 response: \u201cDon\u2019t know.\u201d Media question: \u201cHow will the Air Resources Board be adequately informed about the proposals given the lack of information about the costs?\u201d Agencies\u2019 response: Not covered. To make things worse, the plan was released after, rather than before, the Friday press briefing. We don\u2019t know how much utilities and ratepayers will have to pay to meet the plan\u2019s reduction targets although the CPUC paid a consulting firm $750,000 to model the economic impacts of various scenarios--be it higher levels of efficiency or renewable energy. The firm, E3, included a range of potential costs over the last few months but its model was heavily criticized. But it was as hamstrung because the data input was limited to only what was publicly available. Investor-owned utilities keep a significant amount of their power load data secret, for instance, something that the Energy Commission has challenged over the years. Therefore, we are in the dark not only about what we\u2019ll pay for much-needed carbon reductions, but also as to the quality of the hoped-for greenhouse gas emissions cutbacks. That is because part of the reduction scheme involves creating a western region wide carbon cap-and trade market. And that market, expected to be multi-sector, is being developed by the Western Climate Initiative. Thus, the Energy and Public Utilities Commissions said they couldn\u2019t estimate associated costs. Given all this prevaricating, the Air Board looks like it is going to get an amorphous document that\u2019s about as easy to handle as a water balloon. But after seeing some of the detail in the Air Board\u2019s economic analysis to support its scoping plan to carry out AB 32, it seems like the commission\u2019s plan may not be given that much weight. This all makes me wonder what value was added by the proposed final document, which does little to illuminate the two agencies\u2019 initial plan released last March. Then again, it looks like I may be shopping in the wrong store, if the Air Board\u2019s more detailed and newly released economic analysis is any indication.