California Regulators Revisiting San Onofre NPP Settlement

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) said Monday they were seeking comments from various stakeholders on their 2014 San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Settlement Agreement that mapped out the monetary responsibilities for decommissioning the plant that was closed in January 2012 due to tube leaks found in newly installed generators.

San Onofre NPPThe plant was shut down after a minor radiation leak was discovered shortly after new generators were installed. Subsequent inspections revealed that the tubes were extensively flawed. The two-reactor plant was never restarted.

In 2014, the CPUC set the terms of the decommissioning work by assigning consumers $3.3 billion of the responsibility, while majority owners of the San Onofre plant, Southern California Edison, and minority owner, San Diego Gas & Electric, should bear $1.4 billion of the costs.

That ruling, however, was subsequently tainted with the discovery that former CPUC President Michael Peevey had met with a company executive in secret before the CPUC made their decision, a breach of protocol for the regulator that is expected to represent the public with considerations for due process and public transparency.

On Monday, however, a ruling co-issued by the Commissioner assigned to the proceedings, Catherine Sandoval, and an administrative law judge, Maribeth Bushey, re-opened the debate. The ruling “directs parties to assess whether the adopted Settlement Agreement is still reasonable in light of the record,” the CPUC said. The new directive is to review that settlement with the stipulations that the assigned responsibilities be “consistent with the law and in the public interest,” the regulator said.

CPUC assigned a fine of $16.7 million to Southern California Edison for failure to report ex parte communications that occurred between “executive(s) and a former CPUC Commissioner.”

Commissioner Sandoval said in a statement it was now “prudent,” to revisit the previous settlement.

Under the current settlement, ratepayers are receiving $400 million in benefits from the settled insurance claim with Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited. The new ruling, the CPUC said, also directs parties to comment on the Greenhouse Gas Research and Reduction Program portion of the settlement.

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