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Customers of San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison should have their utility bills cut, says California Public Utilities Commission’s independent Division of Ratepayer Advocates director, Joseph P. Como.

In a letter sent to the agency’s commissioners Monday and first reported by the North County Times, Como argues that, due to suspended operations at San Onofre Nuclear Generating stations, ratepayers should not have to pay the $650 million annually that they’re being billed for maintenance at the plant.

The plant’s Unit 2 reactor was shut down on January 9 for routine refueling when a radioactive leak at a steam generator forced the emergency shutdown of Unit 3on January 31. Under state law, if the plant is out of commission for nine months, regulators can suspend maintenance payments and order that customers stop being charged. Neither reactor, however, is expected to be back online before this time threshold is reached.

But Como is asking for the rate reduction to take place immediately, “instead of waiting several more months and allowing hundreds of millions of dollars in needless costs to be borne by customers,” saying that the law in question “is not intended to be a free pass for utilities to earn a return on non-functioning hardware for nine months.”

The utilities, however, seem to disagree.

The Times reports that plant operator Edison did not respond to a request for comment, and that a spokesperson for partial owner SDG&E said that the Division “appears to be jumping the gun with its request.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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