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Behind The Scenes In The CPUC Investigation Into San Onofre

The first phase of the CPUCs investigation looks at whether the expenses Southern California Edison is charging ratepayers for San Onofre are reasonable. In 2004 the CPUC authorized the company to spend $680 million on replacing steam generators. Edison said Friday it spent a total of $768 million.

Aired 3/18/13 on KPBS News.

The California Public Utilities Commission investigation into problems at San Onofre is continuing, but it is not on the agenda for this week’s PUC meeting in San Diego. However, legal battles are going on behind the scenes over how much ratepayers should be paying for the shuttered nuclear power plant.


Expenditures for Installation San Onofre

Expenditures for Installation San Onofre

A report from Souther California Edison on the expenditures for installation of steam generators at San Onofre.

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However, the company also said, due to “a lag in the availability of escalation rates,” the final costs in 2004 dollars wont be available till the second quarter of 2014.

David Peffer, an attorney for the ratepayer advocacy group, UCAN, said the CPUC and Edison are using delaying tactics. The CPUC has not scheduled a discussion of whether ratepayers should be on the hook for the cost of the faulty steam generators until Phase Two of their investigation in 2014.

"Really the end game here is to draw out the resolution as long as possible," Peffer said, referring to SCE, "because as long as this proceeding is ongoing, the costs of San Onofre remain in their rate base, which is how they get their profits."

Peffer said ratepayers should stop being charged now, rather than deal with possible reimbursements later.

Edison declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement it will file an application seeking a review of project costs when the final costs are available.

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Avatar for user 'Myla_Reson'

Myla_Reson | March 18, 2013 at 11:34 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Readers may wonder why our California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is allowing Edison to continue to gouge ratepayers for Edison's bad and wreckless management decisions.
Perhaps it's because the current CPUC President, Michael Peevey is a former President of Edison.
Hasn't Governor Brown noticed this glaring conflict of interest?
Perhaps it's time to call Jerry Brown (916.445-2841) and remind him of his authority to remove Peevey immediately and end the obvious collusion between Edison and the CPUC.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. ― 4 years ago

The truth is that if they started decommissioning SanO right now and rebated ratepayers the 1.3 Billion Dollars that they have been already charged, it would jump start the SoCal economy with about 4 or 5 Billion dollars and lots of new jobs! The decommissioning of San Onofre would also raise real estate values and remove the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster Risk that SanO poses which would be yet another plus for SoCal!

If the CPUC further raised the qualification limits on energy retrofitting, then tens of thousands of new solar roof would get installed in a very short time (with money already dedicated but which the CPUC is sitting on), which would create even more great jobs and forever change the way those in SoCal generated electricity.

The CPUC should promote Energy Independence N☢T Energy Slavery...

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 11:56 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Yes, in short, the rate payers are being ripped off by SCE and the CPUC is enabling them to do it, because they have ZERO oversight by the "real" public; yet SCE gets to "run" a public monopoly...

If SCE was forced to compete against other providers in the SoCal marketplace, I believe our rates would be about 40% than what they are now and millions of ratepayers would have already installed solar roofs and they would be helping to power our state economy, instead of yet more expensive Generating Plants...

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 11:57 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Why should ratepayers pay for SCE's 1.3 Billion Dollar engineering debacle when SCE cut "design" corners to maximize their own profits instead of doing the prudent thing and have every one of their changes reviewed by the NRC and other experts like other Nuclear Operators do?

A good analogy is hiring a driver to both drive you around in a car that you own and take care of it, only to find that they have not been taking good care of it because they want you to buy them a newer more powerful car so they can drive that one; would you fire them and get another more responsible driver or just shell out all the money for the new car and also give them a raise?

SCE has taken advantage of all its ratepayers and now they want to be rewarded for doing it, which is outrageous!

BTW: If you are really interested in engineering factual data about San Onofre then read some of the detailed information here: There are plenty of Experts that are very concerned about San Onofre being restarted, find out why!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 12:04 p.m. ― 4 years ago

54 Million a month times 12 months is well over ANOTHER HALF A BILLION DOLLARS that ratepayers are being ripped off while SCE struggles to figure out how to get SanO to generate enough Energy that their Shareholders don't have to get stuck with the (by then) 2 Billion Dollar Bill!

The CPUC is "in" on the rip off and that is yet another red flag for ratepayers!

Thanks KPBS for following the biggest robbery in SoCal history!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 12:08 p.m. ― 4 years ago

Ratepayers are being "punked" by those that have sworn to protect them and/or make sure that they are paying fair rates...

FULL rebates NOW, SanO is not needed any longer, what IS NEEDED is an OVERHAUL of the CPUC with elected Commissioners who have a public mandate to install SAFE Solar (of all flavors) ASAP instead of building new power plants that really produce profits for the utility shareholders!

EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL ENERGY, no matter who or where it is generated, my roof panel or the Utilities panel; then our rates will start going DOWN not up!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 12:11 p.m. ― 4 years ago

The people of California are being forced into Energy Slavery by all those Leaders that think more about their own Nuclear Payback* than what is best for our States FUTURE, through the use of energy Profitganda**


Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other "costs" are for others.


Profitganda is the use of phony "feel good" information to sell an idea, product or concept to the masses.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 12:13 p.m. ― 4 years ago

I think many readers are missing the point that San Onofre's replacement steam generators (RSG) have MAJOR design flaws (Nuclear Lemons), they now have more damage than the rest of the US nuclear "fleet" combined and one is less than a year old and the other is less than two years old!

Edison told ratepayers they would last 18+ years and save them over a Billion Dollars and now about two years later we have PAID 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS and are still paying 54 million dollars a month while Edison tries to figure out how to not get stuck with the bill!

Edison is trying to sell US a bridge, A Bridge To N☢ Energy!

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 12:15 p.m. ― 4 years ago

More on why these tubes are so important here: Nuclear Power Plant Basics


Important Note: The steam generator’s tubing wall thickness is thinner than a dime (0.043 inches) to help transfer heat, but it also serves as a vitally important boundary between the radioactive coolant circulating inside the tubing which must remain separated from the non-radioactive water/steam mixture which circulates outside the tubing. A leak, crack or worse, a complete failure of one or more of any of the tubes inside the steam generator would allow highly radioactive coolant to mix directly into the non-radioactive water/steam mixture which would then escape into the environment. Additionally, should a main steam line break or other similar problems occur, the rapid loss of core coolant that is needed to constantly cool the radioactive fuel rods in the reactor could lead to a catastrophic meltdown of the entire radioactive reactor core.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 12:25 p.m. ― 4 years ago

Lets be factual, that "tiny RADIOACTIVE leak" was first discovered and "monitored" until it started growing in volume SO rapidly it could no longer be ignored!! The total number of damaged tubes discovered upon later inspection has been played down because nobody really knows what is meant by "damaged". What is now known is that 8 tubes failed in-situ (in place) pressure testing in Unit 3 and one tube in Unit 2 which was shut down for refueling had 90% wear (only 10% of it's wall thickness remained) which far exceeds the 35% limitation safety requirements of the NRC.

The NRC itself said this is a major safety concern, BECAUSE IT HAS NEVER HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF THE ENTIRE US "FLEET", and these replacement steam generators were almost NEW....

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Avatar for user 'llk'

llk | March 18, 2013 at 3:10 p.m. ― 4 years ago

CaptD, if you're a real person who is actually writing these comments, then you're my hero and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 6:29 p.m. ― 4 years ago

Lik: I'm totally real but cannot afford a dedicated blog site but hey you can read much more here:

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 18, 2013 at 6:34 p.m. ― 4 years ago

I just found out that the Atty. General of CA was defending the CPUC at the hearing today where the Judge decided that he had not "jurisdiction" in this case, which is a real problem since there is no way(that I know of) that some lawyer can now stop the PUBLIC CPUC meeting on Wednesday that is NOT Public in any way shape or form!

Where are we when the State of CA defends those that seek to limit CA State rights that are illegal, who are we supposed to seek council from the SCOTUS?

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Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 19, 2013 at 9:26 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Even KUSI is frustrated about the latest developments!

Since when is PUBLIC spelled PRIVATE?

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Avatar for user 'DonnaGilmore'

DonnaGilmore | March 20, 2013 at 6:16 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Governor Brown has the power to shut down San Onofre. He appointed 4 of the 5 CPUC Commissioners. He also can  also influences the state Water Resources Control Board. They can force Edison to comply with the ban on once-through cooling. This would be prohibitively expensive for Edison. Time to put this problem at the Governor's doorstep and also tell our state elected representatives to represent us instead of Edison. We have a surplus of power in California and the state's electric grid operator has plans to get us through another hot summer without San Onofre.

The steam generators are the worst in the nation, showing decades of wear after less than two years of wear and leaking radiation after less than one year. Onofre has the worst safety complaint record and highest rate of retaliation against employees who report safety problems. Get the facts at See NRC reports and reports from independent experts. Learn how you can help.

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