Last evening (November 13), attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson filed a suit in federal court saying that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Southern California Edison took 17.4 million ratepayers' property (money) by charging them $3.7 billion for electricity while the San Onofre nuclear plant was shut down, beginning in early 2012.
The theory is that the regulatory body and Edison were taking customers' private property without just compensation. That is banned by the Fifth Amendment.
Also named in the suit are Michael Peevey, president of the commission, and Mike Florio, one of the commissioners.
The only way that the California Public Utilities Commission could force customers to pay for failed generators at San Onofre would have been to show that Edison acted reasonably in obtaining the generators, according to the suit.
However, Edison deployed the steam generators without a safety license amendment from the Nuclear Regulator Commission. The decision came from the top of Edison, says the suit. Edison has admitted there were design errors causing steam generators to fail. A nuclear scientist was hired to do a study, but when he reported there had been errors, the CPUC obstructed his investigation, thus thwarting any determination of whether Edison was responsible for the failure, according to the suit, which notes that Peevey is a former president of Edison.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) owns 20 percent of the now-shuttered San Onofre, but is not named in the suit because it had opposed Edison's plans for replacing the old steam generators with four new ones.