Posted Aug. 8, 2012, FOE website
LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. – On Tuesday the Laguna Beach City Council unanimously approved a resolution urging a state investigation that could block Southern California Edison from passing on to consumers the costs of repairing the crippled San Onofre nuclear power plant. The vote was 4-0.
San Onofre has been shut down since January, after one of the thousands of tightly packed tubes in the newly replaced steam generators failed and leaked radiation. The generator tubes are showing unprecedented wear and damage less than two years after they were replaced at a cost of $671 million. Technical reports commissioned by Friends of the Earth have estimated the cost of repairing or replacing the faulty generators at $400 million to $800 million, not including the cost of replacement power.
Under state law, Edison can ask the California Public Utilities Commission to allow it to recover its costs through rate increases to its customers. But the Laguna Beach City Council resolution urges the PUC to open an investigation that could end in a ruling that Edison, not its customers, is liable for the costs. Such a ruling could lead Edison to close the plant rather than incur additional costs.
The Laguna Beach resolution, the first adopted by a city in the Edison service area, notes that Edison promised the replacement generators would save ratepayers money, but due to significant flaws in the utility's design changes, no power has been generated since January and that "consumers are likely to be pressed to pay for additional costs incurred by the shutdown." The resolution says a PUC investigation is needed "to determine, in a transparent, public process, which parties are responsible for paying the costs.