SAN DIEGO — The California Public Utilities Commission announced Monday that a 2014 agreement that apportioned financial responsibilities for the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County will be reconsidered.
The agency, in a joint ruling by Commissioner Catherine Sandoval and Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey, called for interested parties to submit comments on the multibillion-dollar settlement.
Consumer advocates, including two organizations that signed the original agreement, have called for it to be overturned since it was revealed that former CPUC Commissioner Michael Peevey had undisclosed conversations with executives of the plant’s operator and majority owner, Southern California Edison, on settlement terms. Peevey later resigned.
The CPUC fined Edison $16.7 million late last year despite denials by the Rosemead-based utility that violations occurred.
“In light of our December 2015 penalty levied against Edison for failing to disclose ex parte communications relevant to this proceeding, it is prudent to review whether the settlement reached before those disclosures remains in the public interest and in accordance with our settlement rules,” said Sandoval, who is now overseeing the San Onofre issue. “It is important to reopen the record and hear from the parties through their filings in the CPUC’s proceeding.”
Signatories The Utility Reform Network and Office of Ratepayer Advocates, a state agency — both called for the deal to be overturned last summer.
The nuclear plant on the northern San Diego County coastline hasn’t operated since a small, non-injury leak occurred in one of its two reactors in January 2012. An investigation fixed blame on improperly designed steam generators manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan.
Edison later decided to retire the reactors rather than pursue a costly restart process. The settlement was subsequently reached to apportion various shutdown costs between the utilities and ratepayers.
The CPUC called for Edison to file a summary of the agreement and a status report on implementation; and to specify and quantify accounting and rate-making actions taken so far, and planned actions for this and future years, by June 2.
The parties have until July 7 to file briefs on whether the deal meets CPUC standards for approving settlements.
Two weeks later, the parties can file responses and procedural recommendations.