Southern California Edison Review of Documents Affirms Independent San Onofre Settlement Process
ROSEMEAD, Calif., April 29, 2015 — Documents Southern California Edison (SCE) submitted today to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) show the negotiations that led to the settlement of the San Onofre nuclear plant investigation were independent and not influenced by any CPUC decision-maker.
SCE was ordered by the CPUC to provide additional information regarding oral and written communications related to the settlement agreement on the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant. To respond, SCE started by identifying slightly more than 2 million emails and documents, and then winnowing that group down to isolate documents related to the San Onofre investigation and the settlement process.
SCE's submittal includes a few dozen documents that reflect communication between SCE and CPUC decision-makers from March 2013 through November 2014, and a chronology of the key events relating to the San Onofre settlement. The documents show there were no improper communications between Edison executives and CPUC decision-makers. The documents also show that SCE did not negotiate the San Onofre settlement with then-CPUC President Michael Peevey or any other CPUC decision-maker. In fact, the documents show several SCE executives rebuffed repeated demands by Peevey to discuss a potential settlement provision for University of California research after the initial settlement was reached.
"Our actions throughout the San Onofre settlement discussions were consistent with both the law and our ethical standards," said SCE President Pedro Pizarro. "We did not negotiate this settlement with any CPUC decision-maker. The settlement is fair and reasonable, was properly and appropriately negotiated with consumer groups and delivers substantial benefits to our customers."
SCE's response shows the final settlement was substantially different from ideas communicated by Peevey, based on notes of a conversation Peevey had with then-SCE executive Stephen Pickett in March 2013. At that meeting, Peevey commented in broad terms about how some of the cost issues arising from a shutdown of San Onofre should be resolved.
A declaration from Ron Litzinger, SCE's president at the time, shows that Pickett was not authorized to negotiate a settlement on the San Onofre investigation with Peevey. Pickett also has submitted a declaration stating that he did not reach or attempt to reach any agreement with Peevey about the San Onofre investigation.
One "takeaway" from this effort, SCE believes, is that the rules that govern the communication process are ambiguous. SCE welcomes the commission's call for a transparent process to govern the necessary exchange of information between the CPUC and those it regulates.
The San Onofre settlement was unanimously approved by the CPUC in November 2014. Parties to the settlement include The Utility Reform Network (TURN), the Office of Ratepayer Advocates of the CPUC, Friends of the Earth, the Coalition of California Utility Employees and San Diego Gas & Electric, a co-owner of the nuclear plant. TURN and ORA have said that consumers would have borne higher shutdown costs if litigation had been pursued rather than the settlement.
SCE announced in June 2013 that it would retire San Onofre Units 2 and 3, and has begun the process to decommission the facility. SCE has established core principles of safety, stewardship and engagement to guide decommissioning. For more information about SCE, visit www.songscommunity.com.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.