Questions Still Linger About San Onofre Shutdown Costs - NBC Southern California

Questions Still Linger About San Onofre Shutdown Costs



    Politically Speaking: San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

    The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) has been out of commission for years. But public utilities regulators want to saddle ratepayers with most of the shutdown expenses -- about 10 billion dollars. NBC 7 I-Team producer J.W. August and attorney Maria Severson discuss the five-year legal battle against the plant. (Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

    A legal challenge involving the costs of shutting down the San Onofre nuclear power plant has us been dealt a setback.

    Ratepayers in San Diego and Los Angeles could wind up stuck with the lion's share.

    A statement released by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) says it has prevailed on motions in key lawsuits.

    The energy regulators, who have been accused of improper wheeling and dealing, say only 1 percent of millions of documents processed in response to search warrant have been withheld on privileged grounds.

    "The attorney general did not object to any of the privileged documents withheld," said CPUC communications director Terrie Prosper in the agency’s statement.

    The plant was taken out of service six years ago because of flawed steam generators and worn tubes.

    Shutdown expenses are pegged at about $10 billion.

    For ratepayers, that works out to about $1,600 per meter.

    Watchdog attorneys cite private meetings in Poland between the CPUC's president and an executive for Southern California Edison, the operator of the plant.

    The shutdown deal, which customers argue unfairly favors utility shareholders, reportedly was jotted down on a cocktail napkin.

    It saddles customers with most of the decommissioning, cleanup and replacement-energy costs.

    "Their internal records show 'Let's put them as 'deal points'. So it was more than just conceptual," said Maria Severson, an attorney who’s active in the post-shutdown legal action.

    "It was line-item -- one, two, three, four -- how the ratepayers were going to pay for the failed San Onofre plant -- and not the shareholders."

    Severson said a state appeals court in San Francisco is now reviewing more than 130 documents that ratepayers believe will help shift more of the shutdown costs to utility shareholders.