At a meeting on September 11, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was expected to take up the so-called "settlement" by which ratepayers of Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric were to cough up $3.3 billion over the failure of the San Onofre nuclear plant, now shuttered.
The so-called compromise was made among the Utility Reform Network (TURN — a self-professed reform organization), the CPUC's Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and the two utilities. Opponents say San Onofre's failure was a result of management blunders, and shareholders — not ratepayers — should have to shell out the money.
But today (August 29), the commission gave hope to opponents of the giveaway. Instead of considering the so-called settlement on September 11, the commission will take up San Onofre-related issues that date back to initial discussions on the 2012 shutdown of the plant.
The CPUC, the most Byzantine of public bodies, normally obfuscates its moves with statements written in their own argot. Nonetheless, two San Diegans that have been fighting the $3.3 billion gift to the utilities — Ray Lutz of Citizens Oversight Projects and attorney Mike Aguirre — are hopeful. "The CPUC may be getting cold feet about the $3.3 billion nuclear bailout," says Lutz.
Today's announcement "is inconsistent with proceeding with the $3.3 billion settlement," says Aguirre. The subject that the CPUC will consider on September 11 would have been eliminated by the $3.3 billion settlement, he notes.