East County News Service
August 7, 2015 (San Diego) – Southern California Edison could face up to $34 million in sanctions for violating a ban on backdoor communications with state regulators over the San Onofre closure. Those are the findings of California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge Melanie Darling, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Darling will determine on August 20th whether or nor to hold Edison in contempt. Her ruling faults Edison executives Ronald Litzinger and Stephen Pickett for omitting facts from prior testimony about secret meetings with former CPUC chair Michael Peevey, including meetings at a posh hotel lin Poland.
Peevey is under federal and state criminal probes after his back-door dealings were exposed in e-mails obtained by media through public records searches. Evidence suggests Peevey showed favoritism toward utilities over ratepayers including trying to limit liability by PG&E for the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion. Edison has also been served with a search warrant by state investigators.
Edison has denied wrongdoing, according to the Union-Tribune. Edison is the majority owner of the San Onofre nuclear facilities which shut down permanently after a radiation leak was found. A deal cut by Edison with the CPUC r4equries ratepayers to pay most of the $4.7 billion in shutdown costs.
Darling has also ordered Edison to release any other records on the San Onofre closure deal. The company has withheld all but a few dozen pages from over 2 million records, claiming attorney-client privilege.
Consumer and citizen groups including The Utilities Reform Network (TURN) and Citizens Oversight in San Diego’s East County have asked that the San Onofre closure deal be reopened to strike a deal that is more fair to ratepayers. Consumer groups have also objected to permanent storage of nuclear wastes at San Onofre.