Consumers and Edison Notify the CPUC of a Settlement Conference on San Onofre Nuclear Plant Costs

For Immediate Release from the Utility Reform Network

Thurs., Mar.20, San Francisco–TURN, the CPUC Office of Ratepayer Advocates, SoCal Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric announced that they are convening a settlement conference to discuss the resolution of outstanding issues at the CPUC related to the debacle at the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). On March 27, these parties will discuss terms with other parties in the case. SONGS, located on the coast south of San Clemente, went offline in late January 2012, after water leaks in Unit 3’s steam generator tubes were detected. It was subsequently revealed that hundreds of other steam tubes suffered from similar wear and that the newly replaced steam generators suffered from a defective design that compromised safe operation of the plant.

The unexpected shutdown of SONGS has driven major rate increases for customers due to the continued collection of money from customers to pay for the now-defunct plant along with costs for replacement power purchased by SCE and SDG&E. TURN has argued for utilities to refund substantial amounts of money to customers, to be prohibited from collecting any costs for the steam generators, to be responsible for replacement power costs during 2012, and to share with customers any proceeds received from insurance and from Mitsubishi, the manufacturer of the defective steam generators. In contrast, the utilities argued that customers should pay for the full costs (including lost profits) of the shuttered plant, the replacement steam generators and replacement power costs.

“The Commission must protect ratepayers from paying for the costs of a plant that stopped producing power in 2012. TURN’s goal is to secure the maximum amount of refunds for customers as soon as possible and to ensure that utility shareholders are not rewarded for the debacle at SONGS,” said Freedman.

He added that the proposed terms, which are still confidential, will be discussed with other parties at the March 26 settlement conference and should be publicly released later that day.