The California Public Utilities Commission sided with forecasts out of the Office of Ratepayer Advocates and whittled down Pacific Gas & Electric's procurement cost by $600 million to $1.4 billion for this year. The commission also allowed Southern California Edison hedging authority?at least in the interim?to curb price volatility in its qualifying facility contracts. In addition, the commission refused to require Edison's business customers to install time-of-use meters. At its October 16 meeting, the commission unanimously approved cutting PG&E?s estimated $2 billion procurement cost forecast to $1.4 billion, following the ORA?s objections. The tab includes fuel, retained generation, QF and other contract costs. The CPUC also gave Southern California Edison short-term hedging authority for its QF deals, which use natural gas, to protect it against price volatility. The authority will be in effect until the commission votes on a far-reaching procurement plan for the utilities, expected by the end of the year. Edison, however, unsuccessfully sought a resolution that would require businesses that use more than 200 kW to install time-of-use meters, which are designed to boost conservation during peak hours. Edison installed 12,000 meters for its larger consumers, which measure the time power is used and charges those ratepayers fluctuating prices. The cost of the interval meters was covered by $19 million provided by the California Energy Commission. Edison hoped the CPUC would require all larger energy consumers to install time-of-use meters, regardless of the funding source. ?Customers and the state stand to benefit from shifting energy use away from periods when power is most expensive,? Gil Alexander, Edison spokesperson said of the losing metering proposal. The CPUC also agreed to explore becoming the state?s representative on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission?s standard market design planning committee. ?It is an attempt to develop coordination between state actions and FERC and [California Independent System Operator] actions,? said James Hendry, CPUC strategic planner. How this will effect CAISO?s market design 2002 that is in the works is unknown. ?Anything that promotes coordination between state and federal agencies is probably a good thing,? said Gregg Fishman, CAISO spokesperson. FERC will hold a technical conference on its market design November 6.