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.