Jeff McDonald

By Jeff McDonald
Aug. 10, 2015 – Updated –  5:07 p.m.

  • State office says customers are not getting fair shake from utility commission judge

Another consumer group that negotiated the $4.7 billion settlement of San Onofre shutdown costs backed away from the agreement Monday, withdrawing support from the deal that charges customers 70 percent of the tab for the nuclear plant’s failure.

The Office of Ratepayer Advocates, a division of the California Public Utilities Commission that advocates on behalf of the public, said it no longer supports the agreement approved in November because the commission judge assigned to the case is going too easy on Southern California Edison.

“We didn’t want to overturn the settlement because, whether it was good or bad, it was a starting point,” said Joseph Como, the office’s interim director. “We thought a better way was to have Edison disgorge the amount of money they made because of the tainted settlement.”

The ORA has never before withdrawn from a settlement it agreed to and helped negotiate, Como said.

“I hope it carries some weight,” he said of the decision. “I’m disappointed that we have to get to this point. I would rather go back and litigate this case than expect the commission to do the right thing.”

Commission spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said the agency could not comment because the case remains open.

“The status of the decision adopting the settlement is under review in two pending matters: an application for rehearing and in a petition for modification of the decision,” she said. “ We cannot comment further on matters under review.”

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