A bill requiring municipal utilities, as well as investor-owned utilities, to incorporate energy-efficiency measures into their portfolios passed two committees this week after taking on amendments that diffused muni opposition. AB 2021 by Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee chair Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) passed the Senate Rules Committee June 29 and the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Commerce Committee June 27. "Energy efficiency is treated as procurement, so utilities can use procurement funds to pay for it, and not just public-goods funds," Levine said. Thus, there is a larger pot of funding to tap into. While still in flux, the latest amendments include requiring "publicly owned utilities to identify all potential achievable cost-effective electricity efficiency savings" and to establish annual targets for the savings as well as demand reduction for the next 10 years. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power believes that its own integrated resource plan suffices, obviating the need for a law imposing increased conservation. However, Randy Howard, LADWP chief operating officer, said the agency withdrew its opposition with the latest amendments. Jerry Jordan, executive director of the California Municipal Utilities Association, said he expects another amendment that would strike the requirement for an independent evaluation of munis' progress, a move that would blunt the association's opposition. The bill passed the Senate Energy Committee on a 10-0 vote and the Senate Rules Committee unanimously. Also in the Senate Energy Committee hearing, AB 974 by Assembly speaker Fabian N\u00fa\u00f1ez (D-Los Angeles) passed 10-0. It requires the California Public Utilities Commission to streamline transmission line siting. "It does not diminish existing authority to plan for and provide transmission," said Assemblymember Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) on behalf of N\u00fa\u00f1ez. The bill has both the California Independent System Operator and utilities preparing reports to ensure adequate transmission in the state. Assemblymember Sally Leiber's (D-San Jose) AB 2778 managed to get out of the energy committee on a 7-3 vote after she agreed to delete subsidies to gas-fired self-generation from the measure - much to the chagrin of cogeneration advocates. The bill extends the CPUC self-generation incentive program until 2012. Subsidies are now narrowed to fuel cells and solar and wind projects. AB 2388 by Assemblymember Juan Vargas (D-Chula Vista) passed the energy committee 8-0. It requires anyone who imports electricity from the Mexican border to pay the California Air Resources Board a mitigation fee of 0.1 cent\/kWh if the power plant isn't using best available technology. The legislation is aimed at the border power plant owned by Intergen. It's sponsored by Imperial County, which gets the cross-border pollution. Last week, committee chair Senator Martha Escutia (D-Whittier) urged the author to add power plants in Nevada and Arizona to the measure (Circuit, June 23, 2006). Another Levine bill, AB 2756, was completely rewritten in committee, with everyone's assent. It would have directed $22.3 million from an energy crisis-era settlement with Williams Energy into energy-efficiency measures in state universities and colleges. It would have used students to help design and construct the projects. "I'm going to split the baby," Escutia said. She steered amendments to change the bill to spend the funds on the "lowest-performing" K-12 schools instead of colleges. AB 2756 now would use college students to help engineer and install the efficiency measures in the grade schools. The amended bill passed on an 8-2 vote.