Ratepayer activist changes mind on proposed SONGS settlement

A ratepayer activist now says a proposed cost settlement related to the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is a “loser” for southern California electricity consumers.

According to KPCC, Ray Lutz with Citizens’ Oversight said he had changed his mind about a proposed settlement between Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), The Utility Reform Network and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). He initially supported the idea when he was briefed on it on March 27. The settlement would make utility customers of plant co-owners SCE and SDG&E responsible for $3.3 billion in costs for replacement power due to the shutdown of SONGS. As part of the plan, the utilities said they would try to recover $1 billion in costs associated with the defective steam generators at the plant from the manufacturer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Some of the replacement power costs have been collected in utility bills of both companies since February 2012, a month after both units were shut down. Under the agreement, those costs will be recovered through January 31, 2021.

Lutz said the proposal lets SCE off the hook and leaves ratepayers responsible for the bill, the article said. SCE and SDG&E both said that money collected between the time that the plant was shutdown and when SCE announced in June 2013 that it was permanently closing the plant would be refunded to ratepayers.

If the settlement is approved, it would resolve an inquiry from the CPUC into the retirement of SONGS.

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