The California Energy Commission is not predisposed to change its rules under SB 1368 to phase out public power agency reliance on out-of-state coal power plants. The law aims to reduce greenhouse gases by getting California utilities to shift to cleaner sources of power. In tentative conclusions issued July 9, Energy Commission chair Bob Weisenmiller asked for publicly owned utilities to submit copies of procedures and criteria they use for making decisions about spending on coal power plants. He also stated, \u201cAbsent clear recommendations or guidance for further refining or defining \u2018routine maintenance\u2019 and \u2018designed and intended to extend the life,\u2019 or facts . . . there is no basis for modifying these phrases or establishing additional criteria for a \u2018covered procurement\u2019.\u201d The commission is examining its rules after environmental groups complained munis might be circumventing the requirements. Those rules prevent public utilities from making any investments--beyond routine maintenance--that might extend the life of coal plants beyond their current contract periods. Environmentalists want the rules tightened to limit muni spending on coal generation. Munis generally have contracts with coal plant operators to deliver power for fixed periods. During that time they pay for the power and also help shoulder the maintenance of the coal plants, which generally serve several utilities both in and out of California. The line between contributing to routine maintenance and spending to extend plant life has been the point of contention since the law was passed in 2006. Weisenmiller tentatively concluded that the current standards draw a clear distinction. At the same time, Weisenmiller rebuffed a counter suggestion by munis that the rules were no longer needed because the California Air Resources Board adopted its carbon cap-and-trade program. They claimed the SB 1368 rules were duplicative. The Energy Commission chair echoed comments by the Air Board that the cap-and-trade rules do not place specific emissions limits on the munis, because they allow use of offsets and trading and seek only to reduce emissions on an \u201ceconomy-wide\u201d basis, rather than at individual facilities like coal power plants. Before issuing a final decision, Weisenmiller wants comments on his tentative conclusions by July 27. * * * * * It\u2019s time for companies participating in this November\u2019s carbon cap-and-trade program emissions rights auction to register with state officials, using the California Air Resources Board\u2019s \u201cCompliance Instrument Tracking System Service.\u201d In a July 9 statement, the Air Board said the system is operable and recommended that auction participants use it to register by Aug. 1. The Air Board also is requiring that auction participants open an account--a separate process from registration--by Sept. 1 using the online system. The system is being used to record ownership and transfers of emissions rights under the carbon trading program.