The ratepayer advocacy arm of the California Public Utilities Commission called on the commission Tuesday to speed up its review of the costs of the outage at the San Onofre nuclear plant and to immediately cut hundreds of millions of dollars from rates.
San Onofre was taken offline in January 2012 after a tube in one of the plant's newly replaced steam generators leaked a small amount of radioactive steam.
On June 7, after 16 months of uncertainty about the plant's fate, majority owner Southern California Edison announced that it would be shut for good.
The utilities commission opened an investigation into the costs of the outage in October, as required by state law after a plant has been out of service for nine months. The investigation, which could lead to rates being cut or refunded to customers, was slated to go forward in four stages and could continue until late next year.
The Division of Ratepayer Advocates argued in a motion filed Tuesday that "circumstances have changed dramatically" after Edison's announcement that the plant would never return to service.
The motion asked the commission to direct Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to remove the majority of the plant's costs "except the essential safety and security costs" from rates immediately.
The reduction in Edison's rates would amount to about $613 million for 2012 -- including plant operating costs and the cost of the ill-fated steam generator replacement -- minus security costs, the division said.
Following Edison's announcement that it would be closing the plant, CPUC President Michael Peevey urged the companies and ratepayer advocates to come to a settlement on the cost issue, but so far, they have not reached one.
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