This afternoon (February 9), Southern California Edison belatedly filed a document with the California Public Utilities Commission, admitting that the company met secretly with former commission president Michael Peevey.
At the secret meeting, Peevey suggested the framework for the San Onofre settlement that will cost ratepayers $5 billion as a result of the closing of the San Onofre nuclear plant.
Edison said it "respectfully submits this late-filed Notice of Ex Parte Communications." How late? The secret meeting was on March 26, 2013, at the Bristol Hotel in Warsaw, Poland. Peevey met with Edison's executive vice president of external relations, Stephen Pickett.
"The meeting was initiated by Mr. Peevey," revealed Edison. "In the course of the meeting, Mr. Peevey initiated a communication on a framework for a possible resolution" of the then-pending subject of how shareholders of Edison and Sempra, co-owners of the nuclear plant, and ratepayers would split the bill for the closing of the plant. Much later, the CPUC's office of ratepayer advocates, Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the The Utility Reform Network (TURN) came out with the so-called compromise that will cost ratepayers $5 billion.
Many months after the secret conclave, San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre asked Peevey at a public meeting if he had played any role in the decision-reaching process over San Onofre. Peevey blew up, denied that he had, and told Aguirre to "Shut up! Shut up!" Peevey growled that he didn't have to "answer your goddamned questions!"
It is important that, as president of the CPUC, Peevey has been caught telling a falsehood about his role in the deal that — unless it is reversed — will pinch ratepayers for mistakes that were made by Edison's management. Aguirre and others argue that shareholders, not ratepayers, should pay for management mistakes.
Edison admitted this afternoon that Pickett took notes during the meeting, but Edison "does not have a copy of those notes." Obviously, Pickett has to be put under oath and asked if he knows what happened to the notes.
Edison argued in today's confession that "an ex parte notice was not filed at that time because it was believed that (a) Mr. Pickett's update on [San Onofre] restart efforts was permissible and not reportable, and (b)...the substantive communications on a framework of the [San Onofre situation] was made by Mr. Peevey to Mr. Pickett, and not from Mr. Pickett to Mr. Peevey."
By this admission, Edison is hanging its former president, Peevey, who had no business as a regulator dictating terms of an action that he later voted on.
"This vindicates opponents of the so-called settlement in which ratepayers will be forced to pay up to $5 billion for the San Onofre closing," says Aguirre. The settlement will have to be reconsidered, he says. Also, "this requires a criminal investigation."
There is already a criminal investigation of Peevey. Aguirre says that Edison filed this belated document with the CPUC as a result of the attorney general's raid of Peevey's home, in which his computer and other documents were seized. The search warrant for the raid mentioned papers related to the San Onofre deal.
Peevey's supporters are scheduled to toast him at a soiree February 12 at the Merchant Exchange Building, 465 California, San Francisco. Aguirre, his law partner Maria Severson, and Ray Lutz of Citizens Oversight will speak at a press conference in front of the building from 5 to 7 p.m. With Edison's new revelation today, there is a possibility that the meeting hailing Peevey will be canceled, although no one has mentioned that yet.