PUBLIC WATCHDOGS’ CHRONOLOGICAL ORIGINAL RESEARCH OUTLINE

PUBLIC WATCHDOGS’ CHRONOLOGICAL ORIGINAL RESEARCH OUTLINE

 

  • October 17, 2019: The CCC held a public meeting in Chula Vista, CA in which Special Condition 19 was approved by the CCC while the attending public was denied written access to the content of Special Condition 19 even though was drafted three days prior to the meeting.
    • NOTE: Public Watchdogs’ Executive Director Langley, Development Director Babiarz, Intern Alverez attended, provided public comment during the meeting plus witnessed and questioned the lack of public access to the written content of Special Condition 19.
  • September 08, 2021: Having difficulty locating a public copy of SCE’s third-party (LPI) independent Inspection and Maintenance Program report, Public Watchdogs contacted the CCC’s Legal Counsel (Street) and was referred to CCC’s Ocean Division (Wyer) who provided a direct link to the report.
  • September 10, 2021: Public Watchdogs inquired with CCC’s Wyer:
    • What was the funding source? Who paid for the third-party independent (LPI) review; CCC, SCE, SONGS Unit 2 and 3 2020 DTF?
    • As highlighted on Pg. 3 of the (LPI) report, a recommendation was made regarding SCE’s statistical analysis be revised at this time’.
    • NOTE: Public Watchdogs then reviewed SCE’s ‘Statistical analysis to validate if the recommended revision was made and if the expenditure of the report was warranted.
  • September 15, 2021: CCC’s Wyer responded to both of Public Watchdogs questions:
    • Regarding CCC’s contractual process and funding source, the CCC indicated that SCE paid for the review, but the CCC selected Consultant that performed the review; LPI.
    • Further explanation revealed that the review was funded with the applicant’s (SCE) funds going into a 3rd party account used to pay the independent consultant; the entire contractual and funding process monitored by the CCC staff.
    • The CCC also directed that “The results of SCE’s ‘revised statistical analysis’ could be found on Pg. 91 of the (LPI’s) independent review, the preceding pages discuss SCE’s responses to the reviewer’s questions.
    • After Public Watchdogs conducted a forensic review of SCE’s ‘revised statistical analysis,’ we requested clarification whether the expenditure was paid for by SCE or the SONGS’ Units 2 and 3 Decommissioning Trust Fund administered by the CPUC. CCC/Wyer provided the following response to that Public Watchdogs’ request:
      • “Independent reviews are funded with the applicant’s funds going into a 3rd party account, which is used to pay the independent consultant, and the entire process is monitored by Commission staff. The staff report for the Inspection & Maintenance Plan discusses the process of selecting the consultant to perform the independent review a bit more. You can find the staff report and associated documents on the July 2020 Coastal Commission Meeting Agenda (it’s item 3a on the second “Thursday” tab).”
      • The CCC staff report Public Watchdogs was directed to by the CCC was non-responsive in that it did not include the requested information.
    • September 16, 2021: CCC’s Wyer responded that their requirement for a third-party, independent review did not focus on identifying the specific funding source but to ensure the results of the are as ‘robust and defensible as possible
    • October 22, 2021: After Public Watchdogs read and reviewed the third-party, independent Inspection and Maintenance Plan report and then conducted a forensic analysis of the ‘revised statistical analysis’ inclusive of SCE’s follow-up to the independent reviewer’s recommendation, red flags warranted further scrutiny. We inquired with the CCC yet again about the report’s funding source.
    • October 26, 2021: The CCC was nonresponsive to that question by diverting the subject to whether Public Watchdog’s concern was about a ‘potentially bias review’.
    • October 27, 2021: Our response was simplistic: ‘Who paid for the report?’
    • October 28, 2021: CCC responded that while SCE had paid for the review, (still not revealing the funding source) that SCE’s funds ‘went to a fiscal sponsor; the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation (CMSF) and the contract for SCE’s Inspection and Maintenance Program’s third-party independent review was actually between CMSF and their consultant LPI.
      • NOTE: It was this juncture that CCC’s Wyer referred Public Watchdogs to Mr. Zizmore with the CPUC which “audits utilities to ensure appropriate uses of ratepayer funds.”
    • October 29, 2021: Prior to going to Mr. Zizmor/CPUC, Public Watchdogs asked for clarity as to whether CMSF, ‘as a fiscal sponsor’ paid for SCE’s IMP Independent third-party review.
    • November 1, 2021: CCC Wyer responded in the affirmative that: “the contract was between CMSF and LPI for the Independent 3rd Party Review of SONGS’ Inspection and Maintenance Program”
    • January 8, 2022: Public Watchdogs posed the following initial questions to CPUC’s Zizmore:
      • Why would SCE need a ‘fiscal sponsor’ such as the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation (CMSF) to provide a pass through on such a direct expense of a 3rd party Independent Review?
      • And again, what was the source of the funds that CMSF used as that ‘fiscal sponsor’ to pay for the LPI, Inc. independent review: (CA Coastal Comm., SCE, SONGS Decom. Trust Fund)?
      • How much did CMSF markup the LPI bill in order to provide this ‘independent funding’ source?
      • Did SCE pay for these additional expenditures? Did these additional pass-through expenditures come out of the ratepayer’s Decommissioning Trust Fund?
    • Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 10:06 am: CPUC Zizmore confirmed a Read Receipt of email titled:
      • Public Watchdogs’ Question to CCC regarding 3rd Party review of SCE’s Inspection & Maintenance Plan referred to CPUC’s Zizmore”
    • July 1, 2022: With still no response from CPUC’s Zizmore, Public Watchdogs’ Executive Director Langley reached out to Zizmor with the following:
      • “Since the IMP is a decommissioning activity, and the CPUC Energy Division is the NRC-sanctioned Administrator of the SONGS Decommissioning Trust Fund, it is perplexing that these straightforward questions have gone unanswered.”
      • Zizmor immediately replied with an apology for his delayed response. Zizmor indicated that his “initial review of testimony in the current SONGS Nuclear Decommissioning Cost Triennial Proceeding (A.22-02-016) did not turn up any information indicating the costs or funding sources for the LPI review (there is one brief mention of it in SCE-01 at p. B-5). Similarly, I saw no mention of the LPI review in SCE’s 2020 and 2021 advice letters for SONGS recorded decommissioning costs (respectively, ALs 4451-E and 4773-E).” However, Zizmor also indicated that he would do his “best to answer that question in the next week.”
      • Zizmor also added: “Regarding your questions about CMSF and why it was given a role as a fiscal sponsor, since those are issues related to the contracting for the LPI review which was authorized by the Coastal Commission, I am not familiar enough with their procedures to know the answers to those questions.  I do not mean to run you around in circles, but the answers to those questions are best made by the Coastal Commission.”
    • July 7, 2022: Indeed CPUC’s Zizmor followed up within the week and provided the following:
      • The Inspection and Maintenance Plan (IMP) was required by Special Condition 7 of the 2015 Coastal Development Permit (CDP) that approved construction of the Holtec ISFSI.
      • Special Condition 19 of the 2019 Decommissioning CDP required SCE to fund a $115,000 independent 3rdparty review of the IMP.
      • The Coastal Commission selected CMSF as the independent 3rdparty to run the review; CMSF selected LPI to produce the report.
      • Assuming the Coastal Commission contracting procedures are similar to the CPUC’s, I would guess they went through their normal contracting procedures to select CMSF as the independent 3rdparty
      • How and why the Coastal Commission made that decision is a question you would have to ask of the Coastal Commission as the CPUC plays no part in that process.  The same holds for how CMSF selected LPI.
      • My understanding is that the $115,000 in costs for the review were paid out of SONGS 2&3 decommissioning trust funds in 2020 by SCE (who, in turn, likely billed other decommissioning participants like SDG&E for their shares).
      • While the LPI review is not listed as its own line item, my understanding is that it is included in the decommissioning Major Project titled “ISFSI Aging Management.”
      • If you look at attached SCE Advice Letter 4451-E (2020 Recorded Costs for SONGS 2&3 Decommissioning), Attachment 4 Row 18 lists recorded costs for ISFSI Aging Management
      • Also in AL 4451-E, Attachment 5, page 4, row 142 lists recorded costs for ISFSI Aging Management – Holtec ISFSI I&M Program Development

In testimony SCE-SDGE-01 in the current NDCTP (A.22-02-16), about half-way down the first page of Appendix C you can see the same ISFSI Aging Management – Holtec ISFSI I&M Program item listed for inclusion in the 2027 NDCTP.

NOTE: Zizmor added: “Why it’s not being reviewed until the 2027 NDCTP is a question for SCE, but my best guess would be that the Aging Management program is not yet complete so it is not yet ripe for review (that would be a typical accounting practice). Also, since you are a party to A.22-02-016, you can ask questions about this through data requests sent to SCE.”

August 29, 2022: That’s exactly what Public Watchdogs’ (Langley) sent per the CPUC’s Discovery Policy and Procedures to SCE (Jerman) and we concur with Zizmor’s questioning why it’s not being reviewed until 2027 because these unanswered questions pose a significant incongruency.

 

 

 

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