Stimulus Funding Stays Put - For Now

SACRAMENTO - The Energy Commission received a nod from the Department of Energy (DOE) to extend an Oct. 21 deadline for encumbering federal stimulus funds. The Energy Commission explained this new information in a supplement filed today to the California Court of Appeal.

Concerned with the looming federal deadline to encumber the funds, Energy Commission Chairman Karen Douglas spoke with Department of Energy
(DOE) officials and received a verbal assurance from them that they are not contemplating any immediate action to rescind the $33 million.

"I'm extremely grateful that the Department of Energy is giving us additional time to resolve this legal issue that is impeding our efforts to move these federal stimulus funds forward and launch a statewide energy efficiency program," said Karen Douglas, Chairman, Energy Commission. "Although DOE has indicated that they will give California more time, we don't know how much additional time we have. We must resolve this situation quickly to put this money to work for California."

On October 18, the Energy Commission filed a petition in the Court of Appeal asking the court to throw out a temporary restraining order and the contempt charge issued last week by a Riverside Superior Court judge for the Western Riverside Council of Governments.

The federally mandated April 30, 2012 deadline to spend the monies awarded under the Recovery Act cannot be modified and each passing day increases the likelihood that all the contractor and subcontractors will not be able to timely perform all of the tasks required under the Energy Upgrade California contract.

The October 13 temporary restraining order issued by the judge on Western Riverside's behalf blocked the Energy Commission from spending the remaining $33 million in federal stimulus funds for any purpose including other programs.

The judge also issued a possible contempt charge for canceling a solicitation that was rendered obsolete by changes in federal banking regulations. Western Riverside has continued its legal actions against the Commission despite having indefinitely suspended its own residential PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program due to these federal regulatory changes.