Skip to main content

Breaking News: WATCH LIVE: Biden, Harris Arrive At Capitol For Inauguration (Posted 01/20/21 at 7:56 a.m.)

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Transfer Of Power | Racial Justice

San Onofre Settlement Deal Could Be Headed To Court

Surfers walk along a beach nearby the San Onofre nuclear power plant, July 19...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Surfers walk along a beach nearby the San Onofre nuclear power plant, July 19, 2012.

Now that talks have failed to produce a new deal on who should pay for the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station’s closure, court may be the next stop.

The plant’s majority owner, Southern California Edison, told state regulators this week that attempts to renegotiate a settlement over San Onofre broke down. The company urged the California Public Utilities Commission to back the existing settlement, which charges customers $3.3 billion dollars for the shuttered plant even though it is no longer producing electricity.

“The settlement is appropriate and should stand,” said SCE President Ron Nichols in a statement this week. “It ensured our customers do not pay for the faulty steam generators from the time they failed and the plant was no longer providing power.”

San Onofre was shut down following a radioactive leak from those generators.

In 2014, the CPUC approved the terms of the San Onofre settlement that charged customers 70 percent of the costs to close the plant. It was later disclosed that the agreement nearly matched an outline penned by a Southern California Edison executive and state regulators during a secret meeting in Poland.

Reported by Guillermo Sevilla

Consumer lawyer Mike Aguirre has asked the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to send his lawsuit to San Diego federal court to overturn the settlement over the nuclear plant.

State regulators directed Edison to meet with opposing sides to possibly broker a new settlement after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said it would hear consumer lawyer Mike Aguirre's lawsuit to overturn the deal.

After talks broke down, Aguirre asked the Ninth Circuit this week to order the case be heard before a federal judge in San Diego.

Aguirre said if that happens, he plans to question Edison executives and state regulators under oath and pursue documents. He argued the evidence will show Edison knew its equipment was faulty before it was installed. That same equipment sprung a radioactive leak at San Onofre.

And he said records will also show that state officials — instead of holding Edison accountable — helped stick ratepayers with a multi-billion dollar tab.

“Once your child is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he’s got to let loose of the cookies,” Aguirre said. “That’s the problem with Edison. They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and it’s $4 billion and they don’t want to let loose. And somebody big, somebody powerful like the federal government, the law, has to step forward and tell them let loose of those cookies."

Edison declined an interview request on grounds it does not comment on litigation.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Amita Sharma

Amita Sharma
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs an investigative reporter for KPBS, I've helped expose political scandals and dug into intractable issues like sex trafficking. I've raised tough questions about how government treats foster kids. I've spotlighted the problem of pollution in poor neighborhoods. And I've chronicled corporate mistakes and how the public sometimes ends up paying for them.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.