In a settlement made late yesterday (January 30), Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, which jointly own almost 100 percent of the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, agreed to not collect $873 million in ratepayer fees for the next five years in the long-running dispute over who was to pay for the decommissioning of the facility. Thus, ratepayers will, essentially, save that sum for the five years beginning December of last year.
A number of consumer organizations were involved in the settlement, but the main one was San Diego-based Citizens Oversight, which has been a party from the beginning in 2014, and was the appellant in this matter.
The California Public Utilities Commission, appellee in the case, must approve the settlement.
The San Diego law firm of Aguirre & Severson is scheduled to get $5.4 million from the settlement. Earlier, the firm got $800,000 from a settlement over Edison’s plan to bury dangerous spent nuclear fuel near the ocean at the San Onofre site. The two lawyers worked five years on this matter without compensation. The settlement, if approved, should wrap up the civil side of the long-running dispute.
Originally, the utilities commission wanted ratepayers to pick up $3.3 billion of the decommissioning costs. Aguirre & Severson fought that, along with other groups, and reduced it substantially with this deal.
That $3.3 billion was sketched out by former commission head Michael Peevey in a secret meeting with Edison in Poland. He was investigated criminally, but the attorney general’s office let the statute run out. Peevey had demanded that as part of the settlement, a large sum would go to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) for clean-power research. It became a scandal and UCLA dropped out. Now, however, money will go to California State University in Southern California for such research.