FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 26, 2014
Documents expose how CPUC refused
to investigate $4.7 Billion nuke failure
(Click here to download the documents)
Today, the law firm of Aguirre & Severson publicly exposed internal documents showing how California Public Utility Commissioners cooperated with Southern California Edison to crush an investigation into the nuclear failure at San Onofre.
Former San Diego City Attorney and Fraud Examiner, Mike Aguirre, explained how top administrative law judges and commissioners at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) colluded with Southern California Edison (SCE) to raise electric rates and terminate a legally required investigation into what went wrong and who was responsible for the $4.7 billion bill.
The unlawful, non-public hearings were convened to set a procedural agenda that was designed to permanently stall an investigation into the failure of the $4.7 billion nuclear generators at San Onofre State Beach.
At issue is an improper phone call and a series of meetings between Administrative Law Judge, Melanie Darling and Southern California Edison executives on how to manipulate the $4.7 billion rate case in favor of SCE.
"If a Superior Court judge did what Judge Darling did, he or she would have been kicked off the bench" says ratepayer advocate, Mike Aguirre.
The documents show that Darling initiated at least one "background" meeting with Southern California Edison executives for the purpose of avoiding meaningful public hearings and investigations into what went wrong at San Onofre, and how to pass the enormous costs on to ratepayers. Public advocates opposing the scheme were not informed or invited to the meetings.
"Imagine if the you found that your opponent was having one-sided converstaions with the judge in your lawsuit. That's exactly what happened here," says Aguirre.
The new revelations of utility favoritism come in the wake of a San Bruno judge-shopping scandal that has spurred a criminal investigation into ttop officials at the California Public Utilities Commission. The scandal has forced the President of the California Public Utilities Commission, Michael Peevey, to resign.
Improper communications have also disgraced CPUC Commissioner Michel "Mike" Florio. Despite being blemished by internal smoking gun documents and e-mails, Florio has refused to resign. Mr. Florio is still in power as the Commissioner in charge of the tainted hearings at San Onofre, where today's documents strongly suggest that Florio and his staff also participated in improper communications and manipulation of the proceedings to favor SCE.
According to Aguirre, Judge Melanie Darling convened a phone call with SCE officials on December 4, 2012 to discuss ways of preventing Southern California Edison stockholders from paying the $4.7 billion tab. During the phone call, Judge Darling appears to have folllowed the instructions of SCE executives to implement what Aguirre calls a three part "pause and delay" plan which resulted in a permnent stoppage of any investigation into SCE's actions at San Onofre. As a result, ratepayers are now stuck with the $4.7 billion bill.
Judge Darling's three part "Stall and Delay" Inaction Plan.
Justice delayed is justic denied. As the attached documents show,
the improper communications delivered the following results:
1) SCE was allowed to continue charging ratepayers for the operating costs of the failed nuclear generators at San Onofre.
2) SCE was allowed to bill its customers (and SDG&E customers) for electricity that was never delivered.
3) Gave SCE permission to double bill you. Not only were ratepayers forced to pay for electricity the plant did not produce, but they were also forced to pay for the replacement electricity.
4) SCE will avoid reasonableness hearings: As a result of the
closed-door meetings, SCE has dodged mandatory "used and useful hearings to determine if it is reasonable to charge you for electricity you never received.
5) Terminated investigations into what went wrong.
There is alarming evidence that top SCE executives and engineers knew in advance of the risk that the newly-designed steam generators were defective.
6) Spawned an unlawful out-of-court bailout.. The decisions of Judge Darling and Commissioner Florio allowed SCE to hold "invitation only" settlement hearings with alleged opponents. Among the "opposition" were the union workers who are employed at the now-defunct facility. These "opponents" -- who will be also paid millions in lucrative participation fees at ratepayer expense -- brokered what they fraudulently touted as a $1.4 billion "refund." Read on ...
7) Set the stage for false claims that you will get a "refund."
Subsequent investigations by ratepayer advocates show that there was in fact, no refund, and that ratepayers will be forced to foot
the bill for at least $3.3 billion (see news stories).
8) Costs ratepayers an estimated $626.00 per electric meter.
This cost is based on an estimated installed meter base of 7.5 million installed meters in the combined SCE and SDG&E service areas. The cost of the bailout will be at least $4.7 billion. This estimate is based on the following facts and assumptions: SDG&E has 1.4 million meters (source) and a population of 3,200,000 (source) with a ratio of 2.3 residents per meter. Residents in SCE's territory, number 14 million (source). Assuming a ratio of 2.3 residents per meter, SCE has roughly 6,100,000 meters for an estimated total of 7.5 million affected meters. $4.7 billion divided by 7.5 million = $626.00
9) Rewards SCE for deploying unlicensed Nuke designs. The Nuclear Regualtory Commission (NRC) must review all new designs for nuclear generators before they are deployed. SCE falsely portrayed its newly designed generators as a reinstallation of an old design. This false portrayal allowed them to skirt NRC approval. In the law, an unlicensed operator is automatically assumed to be at fault. In such cases, an unlicensed operator is required to pay all costs.
10) Creates a precedent that is ripe for "Moral Hazard"
Internal documents show that SCE executives and engineers knew in
advance that the generators at San Onofre were at risk for failure.
Yet, SCE claimed publicly that the generators would last 40-years.
Because of the design failures that SCE knew about in advance, the
generators lasted less than two years, risking the lives of as many as
8 million people.
As the result of Judge Darling's actions and the innefective oversight
of Commissioner Florio, we will never know who made the decision to
risk the lives of 8 million Southern Californians.
Instead, these executives will probably be rewarded with a lavish
bonus and pay increases for not sounding the alarm on what could have
been one of the most lethal industrial accidents in United States
What can you do?
It's not too late to stop the bailout. Call or write your electd officials in the California State Senate and DEMAND an investigation into the activities of the rogue Commissioners at the California Public Utilities Commission. Click here to find your senator.