SCE

State Senator Ben Hueso says settlement hatched in secret in Poland shouldn’t stand

By Jeff McDonald
April 15, 2015 – 5:11 p.m.

The settlement that assigned billions of dollars in San Onofre nuclear plant closure costs to customers should be revisited after revelations about how the deal came together, the chairman of the state Senate committee overseeing utilities said.

Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, said a history of backchannel communications between regulators and utility executives – epitomized by a secret meeting in Poland a year before any public process began – convinced him the terms need to be revised.

“I do not think the settlement should stand,” Hueso told U-T San Diego via email this week. “The process by which the settlement was developed – previously undisclosed private meetings half a world away – clearly is troubling.”

Hueso said Southern California Edison, majority owner of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, receives a state-guaranteed return on investments in exchange for providing a safe and reliable power supply.

“SCE shareholders enjoy those profits,” the senator said. “I strongly believe that the shareholders should bear the costs resulting from the closure of SONGS.”

Edison spokeswoman Maureen Brown stood behind the settlement, saying the California Public Utilities Commission “unanimously approved the settlement as being reasonable and in the public interest after reviewing it over a seven-month period that included substantial public comment.”

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