Kamala Harris

Customers may now have little recourse for accountability for how they were handed a $3.3 billion bill for the San Onofre nuclear power plant’s shutdown after a radiation leak in 2012.

By Amita Sharma
Friday, April 29, 2016

Aired 4/29/16 on KPBS News.

While California Attorney General Kamala Harris gathers steam in her campaign to replace U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, the statute of limitations has run out for her to file charges for a secret meeting in Poland that spawned a San Onofre settlement.

“Many of you here know I have been a prosecutor and a public servant my entire career,” Harris told her supporters at a state Democratic Party gathering earlier this year. “I’ve only had one client: the people of California.”

But some consumer advocates worry the attorney general is letting the people down in her own inquiry into why customers are paying $3.3 billion for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s closure following the 2012 radioactive leak. Harris missed the deadline for bringing a key criminal charge in the case in March. Now, customers may have little recourse for accountability over the costs and where responsibility lies for the path that led to the radiation leak.

The linchpin of Harris’ probe is the now infamous meeting in Poland between an executive from San Onofre majority owner Southern California Edison and former California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey. The secret session between the two men produced a pact that closely resembled the final San Onofre settlement, including the multi-billion dollar charges to customers.

A search warrant issued in September 2015 for email records belonging to Stephen Pickett, the former executive vice president of external relations at Southern California Edison. Here, Harris’ investigative team states that it is prohibited during a probe to have ex parte communications.

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