September 29, 2013 (San Diego) – On Tuesday, October 1st, the California Public Utilities Commission will hold hearings in San Diego on who should pay for costs of the now-closed down San Onofre Nuclear Generation Stations – ratepayers or utility companies. The hearings will be held from 2-5 p.m. and again from 6:30-9;30 p.m. at the Al Bahr Shriners auditorium, 5440 Kearny Mesa, San Diego.
The Coalition to Decommission San Onofre plans to hold a press conference outside the site at 1 p.m. In the evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., members of the Overpass Light Brigade will be outside the hearing to draw attention to ratepayers’ concerns.
The Coalition recently submitted testimony on the investigation and notes that the decision will impact 8.5 million people living within 50 miles of the defunct nuclear facility: [http://www.copswiki.org/w/pub/Common/M1383/CleanI1210013CDSOP2Testimony.pdf]
The Coalition contends that San Diego Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Edison knew of design flaws when the plant was shut down on January 31, 2012 and that after an analysis of two units was completed in May 2012, “it should have been clear to any reasonable manager that the plant would never run again. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission just published its finding that SCE failed to identify a flawed design for four replacement steam generators, which led to excessive wear to hundreds of tubes that carried radioactive water.” http://sanonofresafety.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/ml13263a271-so-inspectionreport2013-09-20.pdf
“Allowing investors to be risk-free in their investment continues to incentivize monopoly utilities to develop failed projects that run only for a short time,” the group concludes. The Coalition asks that the CPUC force utilitiy companies to refund money paid by ratepayers from the earliest date allowed under CPUC code: November 1, 2012; as well as all future costs related to decommissioning the facility which Edison opted to shut down rather than repair.
“The defectively-designed and failed Steam Generator Replacement Project and related High Pressure Turbine project should be treated as abandoned plant, and therefore, shareholders should not recover their equity nor any return on their equity investment on them,” the organization concluded, adding, “The Investor-Owned Utilities who are the gatekeepers to our transmission grid and generation resources do NOT need any more help from this Commission. We ratepayers who fund their lavish compensation and can barely support ourselves, our families, and our small businesses, DO.” As evidence, the group observed:
- The Houston Chronicle reported that the average annual compensation of utility executives nationwide increased 150% from 2000 - 2011. In Southern California, it is even more egregious -- the annual compensation for the Chair & CEO of SCE increased 15 times from 2000 - 2011, from $764k to 10.9 Mil; and that for the SDG&E Chair/CEO increased a mere 4 times in the same time period, from almost $1 Mil to $3.9 Mil. http://www.chron.com/news/energy/item/Electric-Utility-Executive-Compensation-13532.php?appSession=003978379741089
- The electricity rates paid by customers of the SCE and SDG&E monopolies are 50% higher than those paid in the two largest municipal electric utilities in California (L.A. and Sacramento)
- SCE is writing down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Units 2 and 3 on its books, and reported a 43% increase in year-to-date core earnings for 2013 over 2012. http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130801-915980.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
- While also writing down its 20% share in San Onofre, SDG&E’s parent, Sempra Energy, reported a profit for 2nd Quarter 2013 that almost quadrupled from last year.