State May Investigate San Onofre-Related Rates

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Monica Dean reports

    A state commission may determine whether or not Southern California ratepayers will foot the bill for costs associated with San Onofre's troubled nuclear power plant.

    The California Public Utilities Commission proposed an investigation into the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on Tuesday.

    Read the proposal here.

    Units 2 and 3 at the plant have been offline since January, when Unit 2 was taken off-line for planned maintenance. Unit 3 was shut down after a leak was detected in one of its steam generator tubes.

    Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric jointly own the plant with the City of Riverside. Prior to the outages, the two units provided 2,200 megawatts of power to customers.

    One issue the commission is considering is a bill that has reached at least $165 million for repairs, inspections and replacement electricity, according to the Associated Press.

    Among the other items that may be determined if CPUC votes to investigate SONGS are whether to immediately remove all costs related to SONGS from the backs of southern California ratepayers.

    The investigation will also look into refunding SONGS-related costs collected since January. The commission will vote on October 25.

    CPUC isn't the only commission to probe the nuclear power plant. In the months since January, the U.S. government's Nuclear Regulatory Commission looked into the excessive tube wear that caused the Unit 3 steam generator to leak.

    Environmental activists have come out strongly against the plant and the risks involved in operating the reactors. Citizens Oversight and Friends of the Earth urged regulators to permanently decommission the plant over safety and environmental concerns.

    The groups attended a meeting last week with the NRC, which addressed a proposal to start generating electricity again. The possibility of doing so, the NRC officials determined, would take at least until next year to determine.