Complaint Alleges Edison Inflated Costs Of Steam Generators

Thursday, February 14, 2013
By Alison St Johnand Associated Press

A complaint filed with the California Public Utilities Commission accuses the operator of the San Onofre nuclear power plant of inflating the cost to ratepayers of the defective steam generators.

The complaint, filed by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, alleges Southern California Edison used excessive inflation estimates when filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the costs of the new steam generators installed in San Onofre.

The new equipment, installed in 2010 and 2011, cost more than $700 million, but failed less than two years into operation. A small radiation leak in the generator tubes shut the plant down a year ago. Still, ratepayers have been paying the costs in their utility bills.

John Geeseman of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility said CPUC staff have rejected his complaint, on the grounds that it is outside their jurisdiction. But he said he will pursue the complaint with the full commission if necessary. He wants the CPUC to ask State Attorney General Kamala Harris to take court action on the issue.

Harris has signed on to be a party of the CPUC’s investigation into whether Edison can charge ratepayers for the steam generators even though the plant has not produced any power for more than a year.

The Los Angeles Times says the complaint filed Wednesday with the state Public Utilities Commission claims Securities and Exchange Commission filings show costs may have been hiked up to $100 million.

Edison has not responded to KPBS' requests for reaction to the complaint.

In a separate action, San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre is arguing on behalf of his client, Ruth Henricks, that the CPUC should remove all costs associated with the steam generators from the rates.