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Ratepayers Get Chance To Speak Out About San Onofre Settlement Deal

Audio

Aired 6/16/14

California utility regulators are giving the public a chance Monday to comment on the proposed deal to pay for the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

California utility regulators are giving the public a chance Monday to comment on the proposed deal to pay for the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The California Public Utilities Commission is ready to hear what the ratepayers think about the proposed settlement to pay for the nuclear plant shutdown.

The deal was worked out between the companies that own the plant, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric, and a couple of prominent consumer advocate groups, the Utility Reform Network, and the Division of Ratepayer Advocates.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at San Onofre State Beach in a 2012 photo.

The deal calls for utility customers to pay roughly $3.3 billion to settle costs linked to the plant's early shutdown. Investors will pay the bulk of the bill for the faulty steam generators that forced the closure.

Not everyone supports the settlement. Ray Lutz works with Citizen's Oversight to Decommission San Onofre. He wants the deal rejected because it is not good for consumers. Lutz also is uncomfortable with the way regulators handled the situation. Lutz said there were too many meetings behind closed doors. He is not optimistic the public hearing will work in favor of customers.

"I don't care how many people get up there and get red in the face over how high our prices are in California. The reason they are so high is because of antics like this," Lutz said.

Stephanie Donovan, a spokeswoman for San Diego Gas and Electric, said the public hearing is part of the process the regulators use to decide a course of action.

"We've had an evidentiary hearing now this is an opportunity for the commission to hear from the public," Donovan said. "So I would expect that they would try to schedule something in the near future so that we can resolve this and move forward."

The public hearing at the Costa Mesa Community Center begins at 4 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to run till 7 p.m.

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