The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) yesterday (July 26) made an unimpressive adjustment to a rape of the ratepayer that began with a secret meeting between the then-top commissioner, Michael Peevey, and a representative of Southern California Edison in a hotel in Warsaw, Poland. Peevey sketched out a document that would have ratepayers choking up $3.3 billion, or 70 percent, of the $4.7 billion decommissioning costs of the shuttering of the San Onofre nuclear plant. Subsequent lawsuits and events showed clearly tht the closing of the plant was caused by management mistakes. When management errs, shareholders, not ratepayers, should bear the cost.
Yesterday’s meeting trimmed only $750 million from ratepayer costs. San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson were awarded $5.4 million — not an excessive payment since they have worked years on the matter.
During the firestorm, the attorney general’s office raided Peevey’s home, looking for criminal violations. Investigator found documents such as his handwritten notes sketching out the ratepayer rape. But the statute of limitations ran out, leading to whispers that then-Attorney General Kamala Harris let evidence sit, She was then running for U.S. Senate, needing the support of Gov. Jerry Brown, a longtime friend of Peevey’s. She won the election and now some pols and scribes are talking about her running for president in 2020.
Charles Langley, executive director of Public Watchdogs, says, “What we are seeing is a complete failure of our regulators to enforce the law. This settlement is the approval of a criminal conspiracy…that was hatched in a hotel room in Warsaw, Poland.” If all the parties agree to the CPUC decision (that is likely), “the commission will be released from a federal lawsuit that is likely to expose criminal activity by former Commission Michael Peevey.”
The commission wiped out a proposed $25 million for greenhouse gas reserch to be performed by California universities. That was an original Peevey sweetheart arrangement.