Cities in Southern California contribute to the high electricity demand in times of feared shortages because they haven?t made their own municipal buildings efficient, according to a survey of cities and other local governments in Southern California Edison?s service territory. The survey of 70 local governmental units in Edison?s three-county territory showed that only 12 percent have retrofitted all of their buildings for energy efficiency in the last five years and only 18 percent in the last ten years. ?There?s a huge amount of potential to retrofit public buildings for energy efficiency in the Los Angeles area,? said Jody London, an independent consultant who performed the survey. She shared the preliminary results of the survey at the ?Energy Strategies for Cities and Counties? conference this week in Santa Monica, sponsored by Law Seminars International. The survey was conducted this past winter for Los Angeles County, Edison, and SoCal Gas. Enlisting cities in energy-efficiency programs can have ancillary benefits, too, according to Ted Flanigan, managing director of the Energy Coalition, a nonprofit organization that installs energy-efficient lighting and equipment in numerous Southern California cities. Cities are likely to share information and promote conservation throughout their communities, which can help introduce efficiency measures in small businesses, schools, apartment houses, low-income households, and other hard-to-reach groups. London?s survey also found that local governments slacked off on energy-conservation procedures put in place during the state?s power crisis of 2000-01. Eighty-two percent of the city and local government units surveyed implemented procedures such as turning out lights or limiting air conditioning during the crisis, but 35 percent have since dropped them altogether, and 24 percent reported retaining only some of the procedures. Despite the flagging commitment to energy efficiency, 94 percent of those surveyed claimed they would like to participate in a program that provides technical assistance on efficiency projects. Those programs, however, must overcome numerous barriers. These include not only funding, but also lack of staff expertise and knowledge about energy efficiency, cumbersome and confusing application procedures for existing funding programs, skepticism about utility programs, and bad experiences on past energy projects. To overcome these hurdles, London recommends forming energy partnerships at the county or subregional level throughout California. She also suggests that local governments establish energy-savings revolving fund accounts to provide stable financing for energy-efficiency programs.