California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed into law a bill (SB 1409) to establish closer coordination on energy policy between the state and U.S. military installations located in California. The Energy Security Coordination Act of 2012 directs the governor’s Office of Planning and Research to serve as a liaison between the state and the U.S. Defense Department “to coordinate and collaborate on clean energy policy.” The planning office will work with the California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission to make sure the military bases are part of the state’s future development of energy and environmental policies. Separately, Brown signed 16 other measures dealing with renewable energy, climate change and energy efficiency.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved natural gas and electric retail rate decreases for Spokane, WA-based Avista Utilities customers in that state. The PUC decision varied slightly from Avista’s proposal, granting decreases in gas rates of about 5.6% and electric charges of about 1.3%. Avista had proposed declines of 8% and 2%, respectively (see Daily GPI, Aug. 28). An additional request from the combination utility to reduce its annual power cost adjustment surcharge by 2.1% will be ruled on soon, the PUC said. Regulators said the largest part of Avista’s rate reduction (3%) was due to the utility’s annual purchased gas adjustment which was reduced again due to continuing declining prices for natural gas.

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