- Southern California Edison (SCE) faces a $16.7 million dollar fine levied for its representatives’ prohibited ex parte communications with regulators during settlement negotiations about the 2013 San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) closure.
- If Administrative Law Judge Melanie Darling’s ruling on SONGS is approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the utility would be fined for officials’ and representatives’ unreported communications with one or more commissioners or their advisors while the settlement proceeding was open.
- The CPUC earlier this year approved a compromise resolution of costs for the SONGS closure in which the utilities pay $1.4 billion and customers contribute $3.3 billion. Consumer advocates want that decision overturned because investigations of former CPUC President Michael Peevey revealed it had been secretly discussed with SCE Vice President Steven Pickett and others.
The talks between Peevey, a former SCE CEO, and Pickett took place during a conference at a Warsaw, Poland, hotel. Peevey’s meeting notes on hotel stationary show they discussed the cost allocation. The notes were among papers obtained in a search of Peevey’s home during an investigation of the PG&E gas pipeline explosion.
Judge Darling noted Pickett initially said he didn’t recall the substance of the meeting, but subsequently wrote in an email that the meeting with Peevey was to work on the San Onofre matter.
SONGS was shuttered in 2013. It was taken offline in January 2012 after radioactive steam leaks were determined to be from prematurely worn steam generator tubes that had been part of a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) renovation.
MHI’s 2013 after-action assessment showed it and SCE were aware of serious problems with the replacement steam generators but rejected safety modifications to avoid “a more rigorous license amendment and safety review process.” SCE continues to pursue a reported $7.6 million in damages from MHI.