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CPUC To Decide Whether To Investigate San Onofre, Offer Refunds, Next Week

The California Public Utilities Commission will decide next week whether to open an investigation into the long-term outages at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and whether to order a refund of utility customers' money, the commission announced today.

A couple stands near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach on March 15, 2012 south of San Clemente, California.
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Above: A couple stands near the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach on March 15, 2012 south of San Clemente, California.

The issue will come before the commissioners at a meeting set for Oct. 25 in Irvine, according to the CPUC.

The nuclear power plant along the northern San Diego County coastline has been out of commission since the end of January, when a leak was discovered in steam generating tubes in one of the two reactors. The other unit was already shut down for planned maintenance, and it has not been re-started.

The plant is operated by Southern California Edison. San Diego Gas & Electric receives 20 percent of its power.

The investigation would cover the causes of the outages, responses by utilities, the future of the units and impacts on "the provision of safe and reliable electric service at just and reasonable rates,'' according to the CPUC announcement.

While some opponents of the power plant are trying to stop it from going back into operation, others argue that ratepayers should at least be refunded for the time it sits idle.

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