Sacramento Municipal Utility District customers\u2019 utility bills will rise 7 percent starting January 1, to fund the state-mandated solar power and energy efficiency programs. The muni\u2019s ratepayers also can expect to be impacted by increased natural gas prices for power generation. SMUD\u2019s board approved the rate increase December 6, as part of the utility\u2019s 2008 budget. Natural gas, solar energy, and energy efficiency programs were the muni\u2019s three increases in an otherwise flat budget. AB 2021 requires municipal utilities to reduce their overall electric load one percent a year for the next 10 years. However, SMUD\u2019s board adopted a 15 percent energy efficiency reduction goal. SMUD must supply 125 MW of solar power to satisfy its share of the 3,000 MW state-wide solar power target under SB 1, the California Solar Initiative. Three thousand SMUD residential customers have installed photovoltaic systems and solar tiles, said Jim Tracy, the muni\u2019s chief financial officer SMUD plans to release a request for offers for renewable energy for power purchase agreements January 4, 2008, to help meet its goal of supplying 23 percent of its retail power with renewable energy by 2011, and replace existing renewable contracts as they expire. The solicitation is for renewable projects in California that are eligible under the state renewable portfolio standard, including wind, geothermal, small hydroelectric, landfill gas, biomass and biodiesel. SMUD plans to issue a separate request for offers for emerging renewable technologies in mid-2008. In addition, SMUD is planning a 122 MW expansion of its 37 MW Solano Wind Project next year. It also plans to complete decommissioning of the shut down Rancho Seco nuclear power plant. The board approved a $225 million increase in the district\u2019s bonding authority to fund capital improvement and maintenance projects in the 2008 budget, including pipeline and storage facilities, purchase of natural gas reserves, and power purchase contracts. In other news, SMUD\u2019s long-time general manager Jan Schori announced she will retire early next year. She has run the muni for 14 years and previously served as its general counsel. An archaeology buff, Schori plans to visit Egypt and pursue other personal interests. Board members credited Schori\u2019s leadership with keeping SMUD\u2019s electric rates low, raising power system reliability above industry standards, making the muni a national leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and upgrading SMUD\u2019s bond rating. Under Schori\u2019s tenure, SMUD established its own control area\/balancing authority independent from the California Independent System Operator in response to the 2000-2001 California energy crisis. SMUD\u2019s board of directors will launch a search for a new general manager to succeed Schori.