SAN ONOFRE SETTLEMENT APPROVED, LOCAL GROUP PLEDGES COURT BATTLE

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By Miriam Raftery

December 2, 2014 (San Onofre) - By a unanimous vote, the California Public Utilities Commission has approved the $3.3 billion San Onofre settlement. No public comment was allowed at the hearing, which was held in San Francisco despite the fact that the ratepayers impacted all live in Southern California.

Ray Lutz, founder of the Citizens Oversight nonprofit group based in El Cajon, said the decision is “not surprising” but adds that it is nevertheless astonishing to watch the how the Commission is totally beholden to the utilities.”

An appeal of the settlement will be filed in state court, says Lutz, who states, “We are continuing to fight for the ratepayer, to get part of the $1000 per meter rip-off this settlement represents.” His group has argued that ratepayers should not have to pay for power than was never produced.

A federal lawsuit has also been filed. Lutz believes this approach may be more successful because the utilities and the CPUC have to answer to the federal courts.

Also at the hearing in San Francisco, the Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $1 million for improper communications with commissioners regarding the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion.  But Lutz observes, “That's like fining a person making $100K per year $5.” 

Commissioner Florio and Chairman Peevey both recused themselves from that vote.