Passing the first on-time state budget in six years, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the start of this month signed a $131.4 billion fiscal year 2006-07 budget, including some increased special funding for the California Public Utilities Commission, but less for the other major energy agency, the California Energy Resources and Conservation Commission, commonly known as the state energy commission, or CEC.
The CPUC received $1.3 billion (907 budgeted positions), an $18.6 million hike over the last fiscal year and $100 million more than the governor proposed earlier in the year. The utility rate-setting commission is taking on increasing analytical/enforcement work mandated by the legislature, requiring an expansion of its staff to cover new renewable, global warming and other energy/environmental-driven state initiatives by Schwarzenegger, who is running for reelection this November.
Meanwhile, the CEC received about $100 million less than last year with a $327.9 million allocation (490 positions), but the state officials said it was not a true decrease because the last fiscal year included expenditures that did not need to be carried over into the new fiscal year. Separately, $30.4 million was designated to fund the state’s multi-agency greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction efforts, with the vast amount of the dollars ($28.2 million) going to the state Air Resources Board to develop clean alternative transportation fuels.
The CPUC will get slightly more than $500,000 of the GHG emissions reduction funds to promote renewable energy and expand statewide energy efficiency programs run by the major private-sector energy utilities.
One other small energy-related agency, the Electricity Oversight Board (EOB) created to oversee the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and other creations of the now ten-year-old state electricity restructuring, received a $3.9 million allocation (22 positions).
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