Michael Peevey

At a March 2013 private meeting between a utility executive and then-president Mike Peevey of the California Public Utilities Commission, a framework for the San Onofre closure deal was discussed.

By Jeff McDonald | Aug. 5, 2015 – 6:36 p.m.

  • Advocates are seeking $34 million or more in penalties for undisclosed meetings

Southern California Edison on Wednesday was found to have violated rules prohibiting backchannel communications at least 10 times in its dealings with regulators over the failed San Onofre nuclear plant.

A judge for the California Public Utilities Commission ordered the utility company to file retroactive disclosure notices for a series of meals, emails and meetings from 2013 through 2014 that violated the commission’s rules on such communications.

The judge gave the utility until Aug. 20 to show cause why it should not be held in contempt and sanctioned.

The ruling is the latest challenge for Edison, majority owner of the plant north of Oceanside, which closed in January 2012 amid a radiation leak. A settlement deal assigning $3.3 billion of the premature closure costs to customers — first set out in a framework at undisclosed meeting in Poland — is coming under increasing fire and may unravel.

The 49-page ruling from Administrative Law Judge Melanie Darling said testimony from Edison executives Ronald Litzinger and Stephen Pickett contained incorrect information and omitted relevant facts that should have been disclosed.

More specifically, the two Edison executives failed to disclose private meetings with Michael Peevey, the former utilities commission president who is now under criminal investigation for possibly favoring utilities over ratepayers in proceedings pending before regulators.

“Mr. Pickett has described a dinner with President Peevey on April 16, 2013 as ‘social’,” Darling wrote. “However, according to an email, Mr. Pickett scheduled a meeting with a senior SCE attorney immediately after the dinner. This is suggestive that substantive topics were covered which necessitated review by SCE’s counsel.”

To read expanded article, click here.