Says Ratepayers Should Not Pay While They Receive No Electricity
(San Diego) In a letter sent yesterday to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins called on the Commission to relieve customers of Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) from having to pay for San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), which has been shut down for a year due to safety concerns.
“Forcing Southern Californians to continue to pay for a non-functioning power plant is like making someone pay rent on an apartment in which they no longer live,” says Atkins. “It defies logic and is just plain unfair.”
Customers of SCE and SG&E are currently paying $54 million per month for shareholder returns, operation and maintenance for a non-functioning power plant. Atkins’ letter asks that SONGS be removed from the rate base for these utility customers as it has “stopped generating electricity and has not been providing any ongoing benefit to customers.” Atkins also asks the CPUC to ensure that their economic analysis of SONGS operations includes the cost of ensuring plant safety, including seismic studies, elimination of once-through cooling plants and managing the long-term storage of spent uranium onsite.
The CPUC will take public testimony today in Costa Mesa at a hearing regarding how much utility customers should continue to pay for the idled nuclear plant. Another hearing, yet to be scheduled, will be held in San Diego County.
Earlier this week, Atkins called upon the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to obtain and make public an uncensored version of a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries report that is reported to indicate that flaws in replacement steam generators were known before they were installed. Excessive wear in these replacement generators led to the shutdown of the plant in January 2012.