Rules should be established that specify the role and responsibilities of the person hired to independently evaluate power project bids proposed by utilities, the Independent Energy Producers urged in a letter to California Public Utilities Commission president Mike Peevey. The organization also asked the commission to address, through a formal proceeding, the method for choosing the independent evaluator (IE) and bring to light criteria used by the investor-owned utilities to select bids, as required by the commission?s long-term procurement decision. ?Affording [utilities] the role of selecting/hiring the IE raises concerns of potential bias,? Jan Smutny-Jones, IEP executive director, wrote in an April 15 letter to Peevey. Smutny-Jones added that independent power producers also ?remain in the dark as to what criteria will be used for comparing disparate projects on a least-cost/best fit basis.? Last December, the CPUC ruled that utilities? new power supplies should be selected in an open and transparent process, with merchant generators being given fair bidding opportunities (<i>Circuit</i>, Dec. 16, 2004). This week, IEP attempted without success to exclude from the general rate case Southern California Edison?s proposal to recover $5 million in rates for new power project development. IEP said allowing ratepayer subsidies of utility-sponsored and turnkey projects outside the bidding process would skew the process. The administrative law judge ruled that ?absent the commission?s development of a specific framework to consider the desirability of having utilities construct new generation subject to cost-of-service ratemaking,? the issue remains in the rate case.