Enter a new type of command and control from regulators. It\u2019s command & comptroller. The twist is that it developed from the first command and control, which aimed at protecting ratepayers by demanding utility performance. The post-deregulation command and control morphed into protecting shareholders by requiring ratepayers to invest in new infrastructure and technology. But all those investments started adding up to a real ratepayer burden. If everyone complained about the old command and control that was blamed for high California rates in the 1990s (resulting in deregulation), the beginnings of regulatory command & comptroller is starting to take a closer look at billions of dollars in investments. The California Public Utilities Commission isn\u2019t doing much yet in terms of investment disapprovals or disallowances, but it is looking at shareholder return on equity investments up to 11.5 percent. Ratepayer savings accounts pay less than 1 percent--or as the Occupy movement would say, ratepayers are the 99 percenters. Regulators are happy to implement the neat state policy of requiring one-third of a utility\u2019s electricity portfolio to be based on renewables. It\u2019s a policy that may wean us from greenhouse gases, but it\u2019s also a policy that ties us to utilities and their often overpriced power purchase agreements. It is also a policy that guarantees utility sovereignty. If solar power companies, like Millennium, go bankrupt, it doesn\u2019t affect utilities. If the project goes fallow, there are a few jackrabbits and dead tortoises (although perhaps not dead torts). Utilities move on, trolling for a new provider, or pursue utility ownership. Meanwhile, utilities invest in new transmission and distribution to get the 33 percent alternative power from there to here. Antelope Valley and Sunrise Powerlink transmission costs alone account for about $4 billion in investments. At the same time, the CPUC is allowing expensive fossil-fueled projects to proceed. The poster generation generator for that is PG&E\u2019s $1 billion-plus Oakley plant. While temporarily rebuffed by the courts, the utility turned around and re-applied for approval March 30. While profitable, investing in generation, transmission and distribution is old and boring technology. Instead, investing more billions in nifty \u201csmart\u201d meters to shape customers\u2019 energy use is a good method of paring new fossil fuel plants. Except it isn\u2019t. The idea of digital meters was to shave peak energy, reflect use so consumers could, en masse, see how conservation works, so no polluting plants would have to be built or expensive peakers fired up. The old command and control couldn\u2019t help itself. Instead of preventing, say, $500 million in a new fossil fuel plant to meet demand that could be avoided if anyone paid attention to their \u201csmart\u201d meters, regulators are approving new fossil power plants. Most recently that\u2019s Oakley and Russell City. Sutter was forced to continue. (At press time, the commission indicated it is reconsidering utility owned generation in favor of competitive markets first. See story page 2.) The command and controllers could figure out by the time they get the hang of Twitter, those $5 billion in what used to be \u201csmart\u201d meters are already obsolete. Ask their teenagers. All you need is an app. Realizing this is all too much for everyone in the 99 percent, command & comptroller is the new whiff in the wind. Yet under the new command & comptroller hat, regulators are feeling ratepayer\u2019s pain after the fact--after expensive solar contracts, new fossil plants, and transmission projects. Still, there are new investments that seem to be getting a more rigorous financial workover. The atmosphere has perceptibly changed from giving it all away to keep utility investors happy to putting on a comptroller\u2019s green visor and sorting out some of the spending habits that ratepayers bear. Commanding is a delicate balance between finance and service--it\u2019s in the ampersand.