In 2004, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted aggressive ten-year energy savings goals to meets its commitment to make energy efficiency the resource of first choice, as established in the Energy Action Plan. In 2008, the CPUC adopted California’s first Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, presenting a single roadmap to achieve maximum energy savings across all major groups and sectors in California. This comprehensive Plan for 2009 to 2020 is the state’s first integrated framework of goals and strategies for saving energy, covering government, utility, and private sector actions, and holds energy efficiency to its role as the highest priority resource in meeting California’s energy needs.
The CPUC oversees and approves the energy efficiency programs funded by charges to ratepayers and administered by California’s Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs). The CPUC has directed the IOUs to develop partnerships with cities, counties, and government agencies to support their efforts to promote energy efficiency at the local level.  This is because the CPUC recognizes that local governments have the potential to reduce energy use within their public buildings and facilities. They also play an important role in leading their constituents by example and influencing them to reduce the consumption of energy, as well.
In the areas served by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), PG&E has partnered with local governments to form Energy Watch Partnerships. In 2008, PG&E partnered with the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) to form the San Mateo County Energy Watch. SMC Energy Watch serves San Mateo County, including 20 cities, County government, and the unincorporated areas. C/CAG contracted with RecycleWorks, the Waste Management and Environmental Services section of the County of San Mateo’s Public Works Department, to staff the Energy Watch program.  SMC Energy Watch began serving its first customers -- local governments, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and some low-income residences -- in 2009. In 2013, SMC Energy Watch began assisting schools and farms with energy efficiency services.
In addition to providing no-cost energy audits, special incentives, and benchmarking services to our customers, SMC Energy Watch assists cities with climate action planning and GHG inventorying. SMC Energy Watch also hosts classes and trainings about energy efficiency.