Skip to comments.Governor Schwarzenegger proposes sweeping merger of energy departments
Posted on 05/10/2005 3:07:57 AM PDT by FairOpinion
SACRAMENTO Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed a sweeping merger of the state's energy departments.
In an effort to eliminate overlap and fragmentation of the state's energy system, Schwarzenegger has proposed consolidating four state agencies under a new Cabinet-level Secretary of Energy.
The reorganization plan is intended to centralize decision-making and improve accountability.
The Independent System Operator, which manages most of the state's power grid, is not included in the reorganization plan.
Some industry analysts call the proposal a good idea that has been long overdue. But Democrats call the governor's ideas a grab for more control.
The plan is expected to go to the Legislature today.
On the Net
Governor's home page: http://www.governor.ca.gov/state/govsite/gov_homepage.jsp
California Performance Review: http://cpr.ca.gov/
More POSITIVE steps...
Boy, I don't know.
The last time sacramento messed with energy, we had blackouts and a recall. ;-)
Who's he gonna name to the spot. RFK jr. or Tamminen?
SACRAMENTOIn an effort to eliminate overlap and fragmentation of the states energy system, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed consolidating four state agencies under a new Cabinet-level Secretary of Energy.
The reorganization plan, which is expected to go to the Legislature Tuesday and then to the Little Hoover Commission later this week, is intended to centralize decision-making and improve accountability.
Theres a need to speak with one voice, said Joe Desmond, the governors deputy secretary for energy, who said that overlap and duplication between state regulators has contributed to the states energy crisis and delays in getting new plants and systems approved.
As proposed, four separate units would be organized under the new Energy Secretary:
-- California Energy Commission, currently the states primary energy planning agency.
-- California Power Authority, which can issue bonds to help finance new power plants.
-- Electricity Oversight Board, which monitors electricity prices.
-- California Energy Resources Scheduling, which manages state electricity and natural gas contracts.
Along with the merger of departments, Schwarzenegger has proposed transferring authority for picking the sites of new electrical transmission and natural gas projects from the Public Utilities Commission to the new Department of Energy. The governors new Secretary of Energy would also serve as chair of the Energy Commission.
Desmond said that the reorganization would neither cost nor save the state any money.
Some industry analysts called the proposal a good idea that has been long overdue.
It is a rational plan, said Jan Smutny-Jones, executive director of the Independent Energy Producers. The main benefit will be a coherent, centralized policy that will improve accountability.
Democrats, who are pushing a ballot measure that would re-regulate the electricity system, called the governors ideas a grab for more control.
This appears to be another giant power grab that doesnt save the state any money, said Steve Maviglio, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles. He said moving the boxes around doesnt fix the state energy programs.
Desmond said that while the administration would be taking greater control over energy issues, public participation would be protected. He noted that the five-member Energy Commission would not changemembers would still be appointed to fixed terms by the governor with confirmation by the state Senate.
The states other major player in energy issues, the Independent System Operator, which manages most of the states power grid, is not included in the reorganization plan. Gregg Fishman, spokesman for the ISO, said he had not seen the proposal and would not comment.
Maviglio noted that the Legislature will have only two days to consider the proposal before it will move on to the Little Hoover Commission. He said the move indicated that the governor did not really want to work with us on this.
The reorganization plan, contemplated in Schwarzeneggers landmark efficiency studythe California Performance Reviewis the third major overhaul plan that his administration has brought forward. Earlier this year, Schwarzenegger dropped a plan to eliminate or merge 88 boards and commissions after it drew sharp criticism.
And last month, the Legislature approved Schwarzeneggers plan for reorganizing the states prison system that will merge the Department of Corrections and the Youth Authority under a Cabinet-level secretary.
I think Desmond is bucking for a promotion and power.
Centralizing all the power in the Governor's office doesn't sound like a good thing,
particularly if we end up with a Nunez-type as Governor one day.
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