skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

California Utility Commissioners Deliberate In Public And Private Meetings In San Diego

Evening Edition

Above: Bill Powers, an energy engineer and expert witness in the gas turbines proceeding before the California Public Utilities Commission, talks to KPBS.

Aired 3/20/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Jim Waring, executive chairman, CleanTECH San Diego

Bill Powers, energy engineer, Powers Engineering, and an expert witness in the gas turbines proceeding before the California Public Utilities Commission

Transcript

Aired 3/20/13 on KPBS News.

An invitation-only meeting with California’s Public Utility Commissioners today in La Jolla is generating protests. The meeting comes one day before a public meeting where the PUC will make important decisions about new power plants in San Diego.

Document

CPUC Meeting Attendees

CPUC Meeting Attendees

The list of invited stakeholders who met with ...

This document is in Word (DOC) format: You may need to download Microsoft Word or OpenOffice to view this file.

The Public Utilities Commission has promised to hold a public meeting in San Diego soon about whether rate payers should continue to pay for the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant. But today the agency is holding a private, invitation-only meeting in La Jolla, one day before a public meeting where Commissioners will decide about three new gas powered plants in San Diego.

Bill Powers, an energy consultant, applied to attend today’s meeting and was initially accepted. However he was subsequently told the meeting was full. The CPUC said it plans to hold the meeting in three groups with about 20 people in each.

Powers said the decision to hold a private stakeholders meeting might go unnoticed except that so many major issues are on the table that affect San Diego’s energy future.

“These are momentous discussions for local people of all stripes,” he said, “and to have it reduced to only a handful of invitation-only folks who get to meet with the commissioners individually - that I definitely interpret as a violation of the Bagley Keene Open Meeting Act.”

Former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre filed for an injunction to stop the meeting in Superior Court, but the judge on Monday said the decision is not within his jurisdiction. Aguirre said he plans to file an appeal.

The CPUC said nothing on the agenda of the public meeting on Thursday will be discussed at the private meeting on Wednesday, and there will never be more than two commissioners in the room with each group. That avoids violating the state’s open meeting laws. The agency has held similar meetings in other California cities with no complaints. A spokesman would not reveal who was on the list of people invited to attend the meeting in La Jolla, nor is the media allowed to cover the event.

Jim Waring, CEO of Clean TECH, a non-profit industry group that works to promote sustainable business practices, helped the CPUC organize the private meeting. He himself is not attending. When asked what the participants will discuss if they cannot touch on issues before the commissioners, he said it will be very general.

“They have an informal discussion of issues that are not on the agenda,” he said, “you might have a general discussion around solar deployment or wind deployment. It is just an informal exchange of ideas and information.”

At their public meeting on Thursday, the Commissioners will vote on new “peaker” power plants, that could be fired up in the event that enough power is not being generated elsewhere. San Diego city council has voted against the proposed Quail Brush peaker plant near Santee. Another peaker plant, Pio Pico in Otay Mesa, is opposed by groups who say building the plants will reduce the incentive to develop more rooftop solar.

Meanwhile a date has yet to be set for a public hearing in San Diego on the ongoing investigation into San Onofre’s problems.

Comments

Avatar for user 'georgina'

georgina | March 20, 2013 at 10:15 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

What time is the CPUC meeting tomorrow Match 21st at the County Operations Center?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 21, 2013 at 10:03 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

If I could have attended the CPUC meeting today in San Diego, this is what I would say:

French Nuclear Disaster Scenario Was So Bad The Government Kept It Secret http://www.businessinsider.com/potential-cost-of-a-nuclear-accident-so-high-its-a-secret-2013-3 via @bi_contributors
snip
Catastrophic nuclear accidents, like Chernobyl in 1986 or Fukushima No. 1 in 2011, are, we’re incessantly told, very rare, and their probability of occurring infinitesimal.

But when they do occur, they get costly. So costly that the French government, when it came up with cost estimates for an accident in France, kept them secret.

But now the report was leaked to the French magazine, Le Journal de Dimanche. Turns out, the upper end of the cost spectrum of an accident at the nuclear power plant at Dampierre, in the Department of Loiret in north-central France, amounted to over three times the country’s GDP.

Hence, the need to keep it secret. The study was done in 2007 by the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), a government agency under joint authority of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Environment, Industry, Research, and Health.With over 1,700 employees, it’s France’s “public service expert in nuclear and radiation risks.” This isn’t some overambitious, publicity-hungry think tank.

It evaluated a range of disaster scenarios that might occur at the Dampierre plant. In the best-case scenario, costs came to €760 billion—more than a third of France’s GDP. At the other end of the spectrum: €5.8 trillion! Over three times France’s GDP. A devastating amount. So large that France could not possibly deal with it.
Yet, France gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear power. The entire nuclear sector is controlled by the state, which also owns 85% of EDF, the mega-utility that operates France’s 58 active nuclear reactors spread over 20 plants. So, three weeks ago, the Institute released a more politically correct report for public consumption. It pegged the cost of an accident at €430 billion.

“There was no political smoothening, no pressure,” claimed IRSN Director General Jacques Repussard, but he admitted, “it’s difficult to publish these kinds of numbers.” He said the original report with a price tag of €5.8 trillion was designed to counter the reports that EDF had fabricated, which “very seriously underestimated the costs of the incidents.”

Both reports were authored by IRSN economist Patrick Momal, who struggled to explain away the differences. The new number, €430 billion, was based on a “median case” of radioactive releases, as was the case in Fukushima, he told the JDD, while the calculations of 2007 were based more on what happened at Chernobyl. But then he added that even the low end of the original report, the €760 billion, when updated with the impact on tourism and exports, would jump to €1 trillion.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 21, 2013 at 10:03 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

If I had a bit more time, I would suggest that the CPUC delay voting on Peaker Plants in SD and instead increase the financial limitations on who can qualify for energy upgrades by 50% and then use SoCal as a test to see how much new Solar can be installed in the next 18 months using money that is just sitting in a CPUC holding account! Then if the number of new solar installations are really big then the need for the Peaker Plants will be ZERO... This is a perfect opportunity for the CPUC to challenge ratepayers and help make California become far more energy efficient.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 21, 2013 at 10:23 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months 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...

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 21, 2013 at 10:23 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months 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...

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 21, 2013 at 10:24 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

We have gone from being told about a tiny (radioactive) leak at SanO over a year ago to now being stuck with a 1.3 Billion Dollar Debacle that SoCal ratepayers are still paying for at over 54 Million Dollars a month, with no end in sight!

Even the NRC and now subsets within the NRC like the NRR and others are still trying to understand exactly what happened to cause the damage which destroyed Unit 3's NEW steam generators in less than a year so that they can better evaluate the damage already done to Unit 2 steam generators.

Edison is desperate to restart using they're poorly in-house designed steam generators at any power level so that they can claim that all this is just "part of doing business" and that the ratepayers should pay for this debacle instead of Edison's shareholders who have had record profits the last few years while SoCal ratepayers have seen their electric bills move ever upward!

How bad does it has to GET, before SoCal ratepayers get a fair and unbiased investigation into why all the checks and balances set up to protect CA ratepayers HAVE FAILED TO WORK?

It is past time for this ENERGY RIP OFF to end, San Onofre should be taken off the rate base immediately and a full unbiased investigation begun with public access to all relevant documentation going back to the original "up-rate" decision that set the stage for doing the replacement steam generator program in the first place.

Until a REAL California LEADER steps forward and DEMANDS OPENNESS, SoCal ratepayers will continue to be subject to continued "energy enslavement" thanks to the too cozy relationship between the Utility and those that regulate them which has enabled the debacle to continue despite numerous attempts to sweep it under the rug and away from public scrutiny!

Now is the time for our Public Servants to step forward and actually perform their sworn duty by SERVING THE PUBLIC and do what is best for the ratepayers not JUST Edison's shareholders, even at the risk of some of them losing their Nuclear Payback*.

* http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Nuclear+payback

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

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'twells'

twells | March 21, 2013 at 4:44 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

There are times when industry stakeholders needs to be able to speak with government officials without having to be subjected to the public meeting forum. The laws / rules for what can be discussed in a one-on-one meeting need to be clear, but it is impossible to get critical information in the public meeting forum being espoused by the guest speaker.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 21, 2013 at 4:50 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

AT Twells For ever opportunity the Industry has to make their case the CPUC should grant an equal period for those not in the Industry to also discuss their concerns, that is what equal representation is all about!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'twells'

twells | March 22, 2013 at 3:03 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

At CaptD, your assumption is that all stakeholders have an equal share to a limited resource - the time of the CPUC members. This is rarely the case in the real world. Not all stakeholders have an equal standing. That would be equivalent to the landscaper having equal say in the construction of a building as the architect.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | March 22, 2013 at 5:01 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

So true. That's why we need elected official who represent *us*. Why should anyone profit on a utility, anyway? I'm all for an efficient and cheap utility company. Not for million dollar compensation packages. Let those engineers make cell phones or smart tv's if they want that kind of a salary.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 23, 2013 at 12:01 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Not only will the Region have enough Energy/Power without SanO, but I predict that by the CPUC making it easier for many more to install Solar (of all flavors), California will have a larger SURPLUS of Power than we do now and that is with San Onofre generating ZERO Energy/Power.

Face it the time to Decommission San Onofre is here and if we do so now then it will create a huge number of great decommissioning jobs while at the same time increase all property values because there will not be any RISK of future Nuclear accidents, like the one we almost had 1/31/12...

N☢ More San☢ Accidents

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 23, 2013 at 12:05 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Twells ==> Remember this is a PUBLIC MONOPOLY, ratepayer have no choice but to purchase Energy from the Utility, that is why there must be fair and equal access to the CPUC, instead of what we have now a cozy relationship with SCE's shareholders receiving record profits while ratepayers pay some of the highest energy rates in the USA!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaptD'

CaptD | March 23, 2013 at 12:10 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

RegularChristian ==> I agree 100%, it is time for all ratepayers to seek EQUAL & FAIR rates from the CPUC, while at the same time getting them to enable US to install Solar (of all flavors) instead of JUST supporting more Big Energy Projects which keeps US in Energy Slavery...

( | suggest removal )