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Roundtable Dissects San Onofre Settlement, Transit District Discrimination Suits

Audio

SoCal Edison, Elec. Rates, NCTD Lawsuits

HOST:

Mark Sauer

GUESTS:

Amita Sharma, KPBS News

Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union Tribune

Brad Racino, inewsource

Transcript

Edison facing fines from CPUC

A judge for the California Public Utilities Commission determined Wednesday that Southern California Edison, majority owner of the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, violated rules forbidding backchannel communications with regulators.

Edison executives met or communicated with former CPUC President Michael Peevey, among others, at least 10 times over a settlement plan to pay for the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The judge gave Edison less than two weeks to show why it shouldn’t be held in contempt and fined for crafting the deal in secret with the state agency that was supposed to regulate it. The deal was outlined at a secret 2013 meeting in Poland.

Peevey and Edison officials are the focus of a criminal investigation into how the San Onofre settlement was reached.

Former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre is suing the CPUC and Edison to try to overturn the settlement, and several consumer groups have called for the deal to be reopened.

What closing San Onofre really costs us

The controversial $5 billion settlement over the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station lists the tab to ratepayers as $3.3 billion over 10 years.

But customers have already paid $1 billion of a $4.2 billion decommissioning fund to handle the toxic nuclear waste. So does that $1 billion count toward the shutdown tab? Well, no.

The $3.3 billion covers the profit Southern California Edison and SDG&E would have earned had San Onofre remained open for the next 10 years.

The settlement deal states that customers of Edison and SDG&E must pay for power they would have bought and power they must now buy elsewhere because San Onofre is off-line.

That cost is estimated at $1.1 billion for five years, making the total cost to ratepayers around $10 billion over the next 10 years or so.

Southern California Edison argues customers are getting a good deal because their rates didn’t go up. And if it prevails in its $7.6 billion lawsuit against Mitsubishi, the makers of the faulty generators which were the catalyst for the plant's closing, it says it will share the proceeds with ratepayers.

NCTD dealing with age, gender discrimination suits

Former managers and employees of the North County Transit District have been deposed in a lawsuit filed against the district for age and gender discrimination.

They allege that Matthew Tucker, the agency’s CEO, harassed and bullied older female employees. He is alleged to have stated that it was “one of the perquisites of power” to hire younger women who were “easier on the eyes.”

Filed by former NCTD HR employee Virginia Moeller, the suit is the second in two years alleging NCTD failed to protect its employees against Tucker.

The agency argues the declarations are irrelevant, inadmissible and untrue. In a deposition, NCTD’s former financial manager said he had addressed these complaints with Tucker, who repeatedly said he thought it unlikely the board of directors would find out.

NCTD has endured layoffs, firings, shutdowns, deficient transit reviews and scathing audits since 2009, the year Tucker was hired.

The number of employees alleging age and gender discrimination is now at six.

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