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Aguirre Tells CPUC To Refund San Onofre Ratepayers

Attorney Mike Aguirre has filed a motion with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) demanding refunds to ratepayers who he says have paid for nuclear power they never received.

Aired 7/5/13 on KPBS News.

Attorney Mike Aguirre has filed a motion with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) demanding refunds to ratepayers who he says have paid for nuclear power they never received.

Southern California Edison

The tightly packed steam generator tubes that are at the root of San Onofre's problems

Aguirre, a former San Diego City Attorney, is filing the case on behalf of a San Diego Gas & Electric customer named Ruth Henricks.

The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant has been shut down since January 2012, due to premature wear in the new steam generators that owner Southern California Edison (SCE) installed in 2010 and 2011. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is a minority owner in the plant.

Aguirre and law partner Maria Severson said the CPUC has allowed the utilities to continue to charge ratepayers as if the nuclear plant were still operating, even though it has been offline for a year-and-a-half and even though SCE has decided not to restart it. Severson said the motion asks for an immediate injunction on charges made to utility customers.

“We’re filing a motion with the California Public Utilities Commission, asking them to put the breaks on the locomotive and stop charging citizens for energy they haven’t gotten,” said Severson, “and for equipment … that is broken and will never be fixed.”

Severson said although utility consumers have received power from other sources, they were charged as if the nuclear power plant was still operating and was still a major cost to its owners. Aguirre compared the cost to San Onofre customers to a driver who pays for gas at a filling station, where no gas comes out of the pumps.

A spokesman for the CPUC was not immediately available for comment.

When asked how much money the utility companies should pay back to ratepayers, Severson said “hundreds of millions.”

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