Report on Streamlining Energy Agencies on the Way

By Published On: July 31, 2004

The report containing a comprehensive review of state operations?believed to include recommendations on reorganizing energy agencies and booting the California Power Authority?could be released any day now pending finalization of the newly proposed state budget. The Assembly passed the $105.3 billion deal July 28, with the Senate doing the same July 29. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is likely to sign it on Saturday. The California Performance Review team charged with making the report decided in June to delay giving the draft to the governor until lawmakers ratified the budget. With the report handoff near, state officials are still keeping details under wraps. ?The recommendations will run the gamut,? with some implemented by executive order, rule changes, or legislation, said CPR spokesperson Bob Martinez. Any agency reorganization would require the involvement of the state?s Little Hoover Commission, which promotes ?efficiency, effectiveness and economy? in state programs, according to the commission?s Web site. Capitol watchers have suspected that the final report will call for the Power Authority to be dissolved. Though Martinez would not speak to the document?s provision for state energy bodies, his comments on the matter suggest that reorganization could be afoot. ?When you look at what?s happened year in and year out with the budget process and state operations, it?s clear that there needs to be a structural change,? he said. Power Authority executive director Laura Doll acknowledged that though the report might recommend the overhaul of state agencies, actual changes will take a while to enact. Once the report is delivered to the governor, it will also be transmitted to the California Performance Review Commission, which according to Martinez will hold hearings around the state to solicit comments on CPR proposals. Lawmakers and Little Hoover would then have their time with the report as necessary. When the budget emerged from conference committee last month, the CPA was slated to receive funding for another year, Doll said. The agency remains in the lurch about its future but continues to work on its agenda. Its wholesale demand-reserves program, expected to contribute some 250 MW of capacity to the grid this summer, is in its third year. The Power Authority also is waiting to review bids, due August 5, under the agency?s plan to put solar panels on state buildings (<i>Circuit</i>, April 30, 2004). The state?s performance review report will be available on CD and on line at <i>www.cpr.ca.gov</i>, Martinez said. He added that the review is based on a similar one conducted by Texas. In addition, Billy Hamilton, who led the Lone Star State?s first foray on the matter in 1991, is assisting California?s performance assessment. The governor?s office did not return phone calls seeking comment on the report.

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