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Edison's cost of corruption: $16.7 million

Return on corruption: $3.3 billion

Former Edison exec Michael Peevey
Former Edison exec Michael Peevey

In a decision yesterday (December 3), the California Public Utilities Commission fined Southern California Edison a piddling $16.7 million for not reporting an illegal, amoral, clandestine meeting it had in early 2013 with Michael Peevey, then president of the utilities commission, now under criminal investigation.

Peevey is a former president of Edison who should never have been named to head the so-called regulatory body in the first place. Edison didn't report eight secret meetings with the commission.

At that secret meeting in a posh Polish hotel, Peevey sketched out to an Edison executive a plan by which the company would pass to ratepayers 70 percent of the costs of decommissioning the San Onofre nuclear plant, although the blame lay totally with management and should have been picked up by stockholders of Edison International, the parent company.

The sketch ended up being quite similar to the final plan adopted by the commission. Edison did not report the meeting until early 2015 — two years after it should have reported it. But the major problem with this meeting is that it was illegal: the commission is supposed to be a regulator, not a dictator.

All the commissioners voted for the fine — an indication that if there is to be reform of the commission, all current commissioners will have to be replaced.

So, here is the scorecard: Edison gets fined $16.7 million. Its return on that fine is $3.3 billion — the money ratepayers will have to cough up. Pretty nice return, isn't it? Hardly surprising, Edison International stock is up 2 percent this morning to almost $60.

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Former Edison exec Michael Peevey
Former Edison exec Michael Peevey

In a decision yesterday (December 3), the California Public Utilities Commission fined Southern California Edison a piddling $16.7 million for not reporting an illegal, amoral, clandestine meeting it had in early 2013 with Michael Peevey, then president of the utilities commission, now under criminal investigation.

Peevey is a former president of Edison who should never have been named to head the so-called regulatory body in the first place. Edison didn't report eight secret meetings with the commission.

At that secret meeting in a posh Polish hotel, Peevey sketched out to an Edison executive a plan by which the company would pass to ratepayers 70 percent of the costs of decommissioning the San Onofre nuclear plant, although the blame lay totally with management and should have been picked up by stockholders of Edison International, the parent company.

The sketch ended up being quite similar to the final plan adopted by the commission. Edison did not report the meeting until early 2015 — two years after it should have reported it. But the major problem with this meeting is that it was illegal: the commission is supposed to be a regulator, not a dictator.

All the commissioners voted for the fine — an indication that if there is to be reform of the commission, all current commissioners will have to be replaced.

So, here is the scorecard: Edison gets fined $16.7 million. Its return on that fine is $3.3 billion — the money ratepayers will have to cough up. Pretty nice return, isn't it? Hardly surprising, Edison International stock is up 2 percent this morning to almost $60.

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Comments
16

Don't get to charge fines to the ratepayers?

Dec. 4, 2015

Bob-Hudson. SIIuperb question. can Edison charge the fine to ratepayers? Or taxpayers by writing it off? Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 4, 2015

Tyler Chance. I cannot disagree. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 4, 2015

Presuming that Edison can't nick (gash?) the ratepayers, can they @$$fyouc# the taxpayers by writing it off?

Dec. 5, 2015

Flapper. That is a good question. Best, Don Baudsr

Dec. 5, 2015

RICO

Dec. 5, 2015

AlexClarke. But it will not happen. Best, Don BauderAdrian

Dec. 5, 2015

Mike Murphy. That is how government-sponsored corruption works..There is no punishment until one hundred years after the crime. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 5, 2015

Shimizu Randall: Of course Peevey should be fined and jailed. Don't hold your breath. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 11, 2015

Steve Seyler: Supposedly, Edison will report to its shareholders the $16.7 million it has been fined. Again, don't hold your breath. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 11, 2015

Christopher Chance: Agree. The stockholders should pay 100 percent of the fine, which should be 100 times larger. And the criminal activities by CPUC commissioners and Edison brass merit prison sentences. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 12, 2015

Christopher Chance II. How does El Cajon compare with Texas? Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 12, 2015

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/dec/05/radioactive-razz-san-onofre-fine/

A great factual comment by Jeff Steinmetz · Owner at Flagship Fleet Management LLC:

Incredable! Hard to believe but this is WORSE than what takes place on Wall Street on a regular basis. The standard for Wall Street is large corporations/banks rob the public and regulators come in way late after the money is all gone and levy a small fine against the corporation. In this case it was the regulator that was one of the lead conspirators and the fine levied by the same regulatory agency was about 1/2 of one percent of the total take of 3.3 billion. 16,700,000 / 3,300,000,000 = .0050606060606.... That is one tiny tiny fine and one that proves WHITE COLLAR CRIME PAYS. Governor Brown is up to his neck in the mess and working against the public at every turn.

Dec. 13, 2015

CaptD: Agreed. Steinmetz astutely compares CPUC/Edison corruption with shenanigans on Wall Street. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 14, 2015

We are all serfs. Only the fact that we are kept mesmerized with bread and circuses and enough of us granted a modicum of comfort keeps us from acting as a citizenry to clip these bustards' wings instead of sleeping until only a revolution will solve the problem at great cost to everybody (blood, guts, money and unfathomable misery). And we will lose.

It must be difficult, Don, to be a dedicated defender of the dikes, and exposer of the Emperors' new clothes, to keep it up in the face of such apathy.

Dec. 14, 2015

Flapper: Apathy is the enemy of most journalists. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 14, 2015

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