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CPUC group wants to protect consumers on San Onofre charges

Division of Ratepayer Advocates says Edison and SDG&E should remove nuclear facility charges from customers' rates

The Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), a wing of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), representing consumer interests, today (June 25) filed a motion urging the CPUC to direct Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to remove from their customers' rates the majority of San Onofre-related revenues except those essential to safety and security. Since Edison decided recently to close the nuclear facility, debate has heated up about whether shareholders or ratepayers will be hit with various San Onofre-related costs. The DRA wants to protect consumers. However, the full commission, which has few such leanings, makes the final decision.

In the filing, the DRA said, "The Commission has a duty under Public Utilities Code 451 to ensure that all utility charges are just and reasonable. Allowing a non-operational plant to be part of the rate base, and charging ratepayers expenses for [a] non-operational plant plant, is so clearly unreasonable that failure to remove [San Onofre] costs from rates immediately would be a violation of Section 451."

Unfortunately, the DRA is not powerful inside the CPUC. However, recent commission appointments may be slowly moving toward a pro-consumer stance. Stock of Sempra Energy, parent of SDG&E, rose 0.95% to $80.99 today and has not moved in after-hours trading. Stock of Edison International, parent of SCE, rose 0.89% to $46.51 and has not moved after-hours. However, the general market was strong today and those moves may mean nothing.

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The Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), a wing of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), representing consumer interests, today (June 25) filed a motion urging the CPUC to direct Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to remove from their customers' rates the majority of San Onofre-related revenues except those essential to safety and security. Since Edison decided recently to close the nuclear facility, debate has heated up about whether shareholders or ratepayers will be hit with various San Onofre-related costs. The DRA wants to protect consumers. However, the full commission, which has few such leanings, makes the final decision.

In the filing, the DRA said, "The Commission has a duty under Public Utilities Code 451 to ensure that all utility charges are just and reasonable. Allowing a non-operational plant to be part of the rate base, and charging ratepayers expenses for [a] non-operational plant plant, is so clearly unreasonable that failure to remove [San Onofre] costs from rates immediately would be a violation of Section 451."

Unfortunately, the DRA is not powerful inside the CPUC. However, recent commission appointments may be slowly moving toward a pro-consumer stance. Stock of Sempra Energy, parent of SDG&E, rose 0.95% to $80.99 today and has not moved in after-hours trading. Stock of Edison International, parent of SCE, rose 0.89% to $46.51 and has not moved after-hours. However, the general market was strong today and those moves may mean nothing.

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Comments
6

Thank God someone is trying to protect the citizens of California from the robber barons who have been getting away with gross criminal attacks against the public good.

June 26, 2013

Anon92107: There is no legitimate reason why ratepayers should be stuck with these San Onofre-related costs. The commission is letting this ride because it feels it must protect utility profits. However, its mandate is to protect consumers. Best, Don Bauder

June 26, 2013

at this point, who thinks their shut down costs are credible ?

June 26, 2013

Murphyjunk: Basically, the DRA was adopting the position long espoused by San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Mia Severson. They are holding a press conference today at 12:15 p.m. to explain more about this case. Best, Don Bauder

June 26, 2013

Lotta insults to constitutional rights these days -- presidentially-approved secret courts okay NSA spying on citizens; FBI spies on journalists' phone records; undeclared war is waged on foreign countries by secret American military commands; prosecution of a Bank of America protester/sidewalk chalker was enhanced yesterday by a local Superior Court judge who prohibited mentioning free speech in the chalker's defense.

Now we face possibilities that the California Public Utilities Commission will allow SoCal Edison and SDG&E to palm off on consumers the costs of closing San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station AND skip rebates for undelivered power during the plant's year-long shutdown. Outrageous and counter-intuitive in any time but the present moment.

As you suggest, let's remember the civic contributions of former City Attorney Mike Aguirre who argued that corporate shareholders -- not consumer-ratepayers -- should bear those San Onofre costs. And who would never bring charges against a bank protester who resorted to washable chalk drawings on the public sidewalk.

June 26, 2013

monaghan: Yours are well articulated and accurate observations. Yes, it is unthinkable that those San Onofre costs should be passed to ratepayers. It is unthinkable, but probable. Best, Don Bauder

June 26, 2013

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