Rulemaking FAQs

What is this guide all about?

This guide is designed to provide helpful information to a person wishing to initiate Energy Commission rulemaking hearings. It is provided for information only and is not intended to provide legal advice or to address every situation that may arise in the administrative hearing process. Please seek the advice of a qualified attorney for answers to specific legal questions. The information in this guide is current through the date of publication, September 2004.

Where can I find the rules that apply to the initiation of Energy Commission rulemaking hearings?

The rules governing the initiation of Energy Commission rulemaking hearings are located at: Title 20, California Code of Regulations, Sections 1220-1225 (Search Title: 20, Section: 1220).

Hard copies of the rules can be obtained from the Commission's Publications Unit by calling (916) 654-5200.

What is "rulemaking"?

"Rulemaking" is the process by which a state agency adopts, changes, or repeals a regulation.

Generally, how is a rule made?

The process of rulemaking proceedings can be found at the Office of Administrative Law's website.

The OAL has a comprehensive Guide to the Rulemaking Process that can be downloaded at: (PDF file, 25 pages, 209 kilobytes)

This guide describes all aspects of rulemaking and outlines the steps the Energy Commission will follow with rule making.

Who may initiate rulemaking?

Anyone may petition the Energy Commission to initiate rulemaking.

On what topics may I request rulemaking?

You may request rulemaking hearings to ask the Energy Commission to adopt a new regulation, or to amend or repeal an existing regulation, which implements, interprets, or makes specific any provision of a statute enforced or administered by the Energy Commission.

Title 20, California Code of Regulations, Section 1220 (Search Title: 20, Section: 1220).

The major statute that is enforced or administered by the Energy Commission is the Warren-Alquist Act. (See California Public Resource Code sections 25000-25986. It is also available from the Commission's Publications Unit by calling (916) 654-5200 or from the Commission's website at

What steps do I take to initiate rulemaking?

You may initiate rulemaking by filing a petition with the Energy Commission. The petition must include:
  • Your name, address, and telephone number;
  • The substance or nature of the regulation, amendment, or repeal requested;
  • The reason for your request;
  • Reference to the authority of the Commission to adopt, amend, or repeal the regulation. (For example, if you are requesting that the Commission adopt a new regulation regarding energy-conserving buildings, you would refer to the section of the Warren-Alquist Act directing the Commission to adopt standards for energy-conserving buildings - California Public Resources Code section 25404.)

Once you have completed your petition, you should file it with the executive director.

Within the next seven days, the executive director will determine if the petition contains all the required information. If your petition is complete, the executive director will certify that it is complete and notify you in writing. If your petition is incomplete, the executive director will return the petition to you along with a statement of what the petition needs to be complete. You may then correct the petition and resubmit it at any time.

Title 20, California Code of Regulations, Section 1221 (Search Title: 20, Section: 1221).

How will I find out if the petition was granted or denied?

Once the executive director has certified the petition is complete, the Commission will either grant or deny the petition. The Commission must grant or deny the petition within 30 days from the date the petition was filed.

If the Commission denies the petition, it must explain in writing why it reached this decision based on the merits of the petition. (A decision reached 'on the merits' means the decision was reached after considering the substance of the petition.)

If the Commission grants the petition, it will institute rulemaking proceedings. Notice of the proposed adoption, amendment, or repeal of a regulation will be mailed to you at least 45 days before the hearing.

The Commission may grant or deny the petition in part, or take any other action it determines is warranted by the petition. If it does either of these, it will notify you in writing.

What can I do if I disagree with the Commission's decision to deny the petition?

Any interested person can petition the Commission to reconsider its decision. Your petition for reconsideration must be filed within 60 days of the Commission's decision.

The petition must include:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number;
  • The substance or nature of the regulation, amendment, or repeal requested;
  • The reason for your request;
  • The reason the Commission should reconsider its decision;
  • Reference to the authority of the Commission to adopt, amend, or repeal the regulation.

(See California Government Code, Section 11340.7.)

If a petition is accepted, will the Energy Commission hold a rulemaking hearing?

Not necessarily. The Energy Commission is not required to hold a hearing on every rule making request that it accepts.

However, if an interested person requests a hearing to be held on a specific rulemaking proceeding, the Energy Commission must give notice of and hold a public hearing.

A request to hold a public hearing in this manner must be submitted 15 days before the close of the 45 day public comment period. The public comment period is discussed below.

Will I be notified of the rulemaking hearings?

The only way that you will be notified directly of rulemaking proceedings is if you file a request for notification of regulatory proceedings with the Energy Commission. In this request for notification, you may request to either be informed of the hearings that correspond to a particular interest of yours, or be informed of every Energy Commission rulemaking hearing.

If you have one of these requests filed, notice of rulemaking proceedings will be mailed at the beginning of the public comment period. This public comment period is, at minimum, a 45 day period at the beginning of which the Commission will release its proposed regulations and the public will have a chance to comment on them.

After this period runs its course, there is a possibility the Commission will make changes to their proposed regulations. If this is the case, and the changes are major, a new 45 day public comment period will begin. If the changes are not major, a 15 day public comment period will begin. In both cases, notice will again be mailed to those persons who have requested to be informed.

If there are any additional rulemaking hearings, notice will be made available 10 days prior to this additional hearing or proceeding.

All notifications will include the time, place and nature of the hearings.

I do not have one of these requests on file. How can I be informed?

The Commission is also required to post the notification on their website.

This posting will have the same information as the mailings.

The best way to keep informed if you have not requested the aforementioned mailings is to check the Commission's web-site regularly.

Also, notices on rulemaking proceedings are published in the California Regulatory Notice Register (CRNR) 45 days prior to the proceeding. The CRNR is published every Friday and contains notice of all proposed regulatory proceeding from every state agency. Current editions of the CRNR are posted to the web at:

How may I participate in the rulemaking hearing?

Once the Commission has moved to have a hearing, or one has been requested by an interested party, you may participate in the following ways:
  • Submit written comments. You may be required to submit these written comments in advance of the hearing.
  • Present oral comments at the hearing.

If the written or oral comments that you wish to submit are matters of fact or of technical expertise, the Commission may require you to present them as sworn testimony.

Also, if you present sworn oral comments at a rulemaking hearing, the Commissioners may ask you questions. You will be required to answer these questions.

However, if you present un-sworn oral testimony, you will not be required to answer the questions.

Regardless of whether the Commission holds a hearing, written comments will be accepted.

How do I know if the Energy Commission used my comments in its decision?

After coming to a decision, the Energy Commission is required to submit a report to the OAL. In this report, the Commission will list summaries of all relevant comments received and an explanation either to how the proposed action has been changed to accommodate the comment or the reason why the proposed action has been left unchanged. If comments are duplicative, the Commission is allowed to aggregate the summary of these comments as well as the response to them.

For the purpose of comments to rulemaking proceedings, irrelevant comments are comments that are not specifically directed at the proposed action or procedure of the Commission in the proposition or adoption of the action. (See California Government Code, Section 11346.9(a)(3).)

Will my comment be identified by name?

Once the Energy Commission finishes it rulemaking procedures, it is required to send a report on these proceedings to the Office of Administrative Law.

This report is a complete rulemaking record. In this record there will be a transcript, recording or minutes of any public hearing that was held during rulemaking. This record will include all relevant, non-repetitive comments and responses to them. Both written and oral comments will be included. You may be identified as the person making your comment in this report.

However, since written comments are sometimes aggregated, there is a chance your comment will not be identified by name.

It should be remembered that the Commission is required by law to consider every timely and relevant comment. That means that your comment was considered by the Commission even if it is not mentioned by name in the report.

Will the Energy Commission hold any workshops or discussion about the proposed regulations before the formal public comment period begins?

If a proposed regulation is complex, or is so large that it cannot be effectively reviewed during a comment period, then the Energy Commission is requested to hold public discussions on the proposals with parties that are likely to be affected by the new regulations. These discussions will take place before the public comment period.

NOTICE: Distributed by the Public Adviser's Office. This is for informational purposes only. It is designed to assist you in understanding the process. It is, therefore, general in nature and does not discuss all exceptions and variations.