Executives from Southern California Edison and PG&E Corp. are enthusiastic about the state's regulatory climate - a far cry from the utility-state relationship dynamic five years ago. "It's been a tremendous turnaround," Al Fohrer, Edison chief executive officer, said September 26. "The biggest single difference is that the California Public Utilities Commission and the Legislature see the California utility as important to their agenda." That includes building new infrastructure and beefing up old systems. In exchange, regulators have agreed to pass through costs to consumers and authorize rates of return on investments. "This commission understands they have to pass through costs to get what they want done," he added. PG&E Corp. chief executive officer Peter Darbee told investors at the Merrill Lynch conference that his company is embracing, not fighting, new laws and regulations to benefit shareholders. Many utilities across the nation are fighting emissions laws in their states and in court. Darbee cited the state's growing body of policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as an opportunity for the company. Because PG&E is "taking a proactive stance" in greenhouse gas reduction, "We are being invited in. We are being welcomed by policy makers." For instance, the utility plans to nearly double its funding for alternative-fuel vehicles (Circuit, Sept. 15, 2006). "It terrific to be part of the boring California utility again," concluded Fohrer. The CPUC with Mike Peevey at the helm is "very deferential to utilities," said CPUC member Geoffrey Brown in another venue earlier this week. "We are going to see utilities get exactly what they want," he said.