A bevy of bills\u2014from one increasing transparency of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs to another adding privacy protections to ratepayers\u2019 smart meter data\u2014passed the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee June 18. \tAB 1274, by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), aims to protect utility customer privacy that \u201csmart meters\u201d may strip away. The bill prohibits the stream of customers\u2019 energy use data from being misused and\/or sold without their consent. It was voted out 8-0. AB 270, passed 8-0, directs the California Public Utilities Commission, to develop a website that includes a database of energy efficiency programs, costs and reports to track and evaluate whether the programs are successful. \u201cIt shines a light to see if ratepayers are getting what they paid for,\u201d said Bradford, AB 270 author. Another bill approved by the committee, AB 66, was passed on an 8-0 vote. The legislation by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) mandates reporting electrical outages in utility territories, including where outages are the most frequent. San Diego Gas & Electric opposed the bill, calling for the outage data to be aggregated. Committee chair Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) said he supported the measure because it highlighted the problems of aging electrical infrastructure. Other bills passed by the Senate energy committee include the following: * AB 340, by Bradford requires the CPUC to encourage businesses owned by women, minorities and disabled veterans to tap into Electric Program Investment Charge-funded programs. The program, administered by the commission, replaced the ratepayer funded, \u201cpublic goods\u201d research and development program at the Energy Commission. AB 340 passed 6-2. * AB 489, approved 6-2, by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Oakland) expands the funding pots for energy efficiency in buildings not subject to the building energy efficiency code, Title 24. Currently, funding is limited to the depleted pot of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. * AB 687, by Assemblymember Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), allows public agencies charged with cleaning up contaminated groundwater at federally-listed Superfund sites to be allowed to use non-utility energy providers to lower their energy bills associated with the cleanup. The bill faced opposition from the California Manufacturers & Technology Association because it limits the expansion of direct access, according to lobbyist Dorothy Rothrock. The vote was 6-2. * AB 719, also by Hernandez, directs the CPUC to develop a tariff to promote utility installations of energy efficient street lights. The bill passed 6-2. The CPUC asked for up to 18 months to develop the tariff. * AB 796, by Muratsuchi directs the Energy Commission to consider rising sea levels when permitting power plants near the coast. \u201cThis is a better safe-than-sorry bill,\u201d said Muratsuchi. It passed 6-3. * AB 1409, allows the CPUC to raise fees on utilities seeking certifications for public convenience and necessity. These fees have been frozen for years causing a cost shift. The bill passed 6-1.