Edison urges state regulators to reject San Onofre protest
Sunset at San Onofre
Utility says Public Watchdog allegations are not supported by factual, legal record
Southern California Edison, which last month requested hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending to pay for decommissioning the San Onofre nuclear plant, is urging state regulators to reject a formal protest filed by the San Diego nonprofit advocacy group Public Watchdogs.
In a 12-page reply to the California Public Utilities Commission, Edison denied accusations by Public Watchdogs that the utility had misstated or withheld information from regulators as well as mischaracterized reasons for delays in the decommissioning process.
The company said it has complied with all regulatory standards and practices and said the advocacy group’s allegations are not supported by the factual or legal record.
“Public Watchdogs has pursued these type(s) of claims in several state and federal court proceedings and with the (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission),” Edison told state regulators. “To date, those claims have been rejected and dismissed by the reviewing courts and the NRC.”
Edison last month sought approval from the state utilities commission to withdraw more than $400 million from the multibillion-dollar trust fund set up to pay for decommissioning the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant on the northern San Diego County coast.
The decommissioning fund grew to more than $4 billion as customers of Edison and minority owner San Diego Gas & Electric paid a fee on their monthly bills over several decades to raise the money to eventually dismantle the plant.
The new spending would pay ongoing costs to deconstruct the power plant, which closed in 2012 after a small radiation leak. Public Watchdogs said the spending should not be approved without an evidentiary hearing so the public can make sure the funds are spent properly.
“It is our hope that the Public Utilities Commission will review SCE’s profligate spending requests in full and open public hearings,” said Charles Langley, the Public Watchdogs executive director. “The public has a right to know how the public’s money is being spent.”
The state utilities commission delayed approving Edison’s funding request Dec. 24, saying regulators needed more time to consider the Edison appeal. Commission analysts now will take up to 150 days to study the request before they issue a decision.
Regulators’ decision to put the brakes on decommission spending came on the same day Public Watchdogs filed its protest letter with the commission. Langley said Public Watchdogs also plans to protest a similar funding request from SDG&E for its spending request.