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State fails to coordinate energy programs, audit says

December 20, 2012 |  8:20 am

California has spent $15 billion on more than a dozen programs promoting energy efficiency and alternative energy during the last decade and a half, but lacks a comprehensive framework to properly coordinate the various efforts, a state report concludes.

As a result, there has been program duplication, some agencies are making decisions not aligned with legislative priorities and it is difficult to evaluate whether all programs are effective, according the report by the legislative analyst’s office.

The report found that the return on investment in the state’s energy efficiency spending has declined in recent years. The agency recommended that the Legislature develop a comprehensive strategy for meeting energy efficiency and alternative energy goals.

A group of companies that provide energy efficiency services to the state acknowledged "there is room for improvement" in the coordination of energy efficiency programs, but defended the state’s overall efforts, saying electricity bills here are 14% lower than the rest of the country.

"We look forward to working with the Legislature and the administration to improve funding delivery and oversight so taxpayers receive the most bang for their buck,” said Margie Gardner, executive director of the California Energy Efficiency Industry Council. 


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Photo: Solar panels near Nipton, Calif. Credit: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times.