PG&E to Lobby for Higher Diablo Decommissioning Costs

For Immediate Release From TURN, The Utility Reform Network

PG&E to Lobby for Higher Decommissioning Charges

Contact: Mindy Spatt, 415 929 8876

Thursday, May 11, San Francisco–Late yesterday PG&E filed notice of its intent to lobby the CPUC to charge its customers over $100 million per year for the estimated future costs of decommissioning the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The ‘Ex Parte” notice filed by PG&E announces it will meet with advisors to CPUC Commissioners Guzman-Aceves and Randolph on Monday May 15 to lobby them on disputed issues in the contentious decommissioning case.  Meetings with advisors to Commissioners Peterman and Rechtschaffen will be held on May 16 and 17.

PG&E seeks a 65% increase to its 2012 estimate of $2.286 billion, now demanding $3.779 billion to do the same job. TURN argued that the increase, the largest ever demanded by a utility in California, was unsupported by the evidence. TURN challenged a wide array of the assumptions relied on by PG&E, convincing ALJ Darcy Houck to issue a proposed decision denying $1.36 billion (or 91% of the proposed increase).

The Proposed Decision would permit PG&E to increase the estimate by $135 million rather than the $1.49 billion requested. Under the Proposed Decision, ratepayers would avoid over $100 million in annual rate increases sought by PG&E. PG&E’s last-minute lobbying push is designed to circumvent the Proposed Decision by asking CPUC Commissioners to authorize immediate rate increases based on its inflated estimate.

“While TURN worked with the Legislature to enact new laws limiting PG&E’s ability to meet privately with regulators, PG&E continues to seek opportunities to use private meetings with Commissioners as a substitute for the public process” said Mark Toney, executive director of TURN.  “PG&E is attempting to circumvent the Judge’s proposal and jam through an immediate rate increase.”

“PG&E won’t give up on milking Diablo Canyon,” said Toney. “Rather than trying to quash the Judge’s evidence-based decision, PG&E should focus on strategies to reduce the costs of nuclear decommissioning and protect consumers from unnecessary costs,” Toney said. “We hope the CPUC will stand firm.”