Legislation expanding state incentive payments to cover advanced solar thermal and waste gas power system installations passed the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee June 17. The measure--AB 1064, authored by Assemblymembers Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) and Felipe Fuentes (D-Arleta)--provides the payments through 2012. It exempts residential electric and gas utility ratepayers from any surcharges to fund the subsidies under the state\u2019s self generation incentive program. Representatives of big consumers and small customers disagree. On one hand, The Utility Reform Network supports passage of the measure. The California Manufacturers and Technology Association opposes the bill based on its residential customer exemption. Supporting innovative and low emissions power generation benefits all Californians, argued Dorothy Rothrock, association senior vice president of government relations. She added all utility customers should help fund the program. Under the existing program, residential customers pay a surcharge. A committee analysis showed that the monthly surcharge totals 39 cents in Pacific Gas & Electric territory, 33 cents in Southern California Edison\u2019s area, and 63 cents in San Diego Gas & Electric territory. This year, the program can provide $83 million of incentive payments to project developers. However, unless the measure passes, the state can no longer provide funding for any technology other than wind power and fuel cell systems. Funding for those two technologies can continue through the end of 2012. Photovoltaic incentive payments will continue under a separate program known as the California Solar Initiative. Payments for wind power will be offered at the rate of $1.50 per installed watt of generating capacity and for biogas fuel cells at the rate of $4.50 per watt. AB 1064 would provide extra incentive payments for projects using technologies made in California. Another bill by Fuentes, AB 2267, that would do the same, also won approval by the panel. A similar bill, SB 1012, is pending in the Assembly, although it only would exempt low income residential customers enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program from the surcharges.