The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, shut down since 2012 and now being decommissioned. Photo courtesy Southern California Edison

One of the signatories to an agreement that assigns financial responsibilities for the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station asked the California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday to reconsider its approval of the deal.

In its filing, The Utility Reform Network said the commission needs to address “the public perception that the outcome was a product of intervention by former (CPUC) President Michael Peevey.”

It was disclosed after the settlement was reached that Peevey had pre-negotiation discussions about the deal with an executive of Southern California Edison, the plant’s operator and majority owner.

“The recently revealed proof of Peevey’s involvement has compelled us to take this highly unusual step,” said TURN lawyer Matthew Freedman.

In a statement, Edison said the settlement was “fair and reasonable,” and was negotiated properly.

The nuclear power station, located on the northern San Diego County coastline, was shut down in January 2012 following a small, non-injury leak that was blamed on steam generators designed and manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan.

Rosemead-based Edison decided two years ago to retire the plant, rather than pursue a costly restart strategy.

A settlement on how to divvy up the costs was reached last year by TURN, the state Office of Ratepayer Advocates, Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, which owns 20 percent of the plant and received one-fifth of its power.

According to TURN and the ORA, the deal retroactively prevented the utilities’ customers from having to pay for the steam generators starting on Feb. 1, 2012, one day after the shutdown. The financial burden would be shifted to the utilities’ shareholders.

The deal was later approved by the CPUC.

TURN said the terms were better than those initially proposed by Peevey, but reopening the case could help restore the commission’s credibility.

However, disclosure of Peevey’s discussions with Edison might have impacted the talks, according to TURN. The organization said the outcome still might not have been “materially different,” given established law and precedents.

— City News Service

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