SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco judge issued an order this week calling on the California Public Utilities Commission to publicly release emails that led up to an increase in costs for utility ratepayers following the 2012 shuttering of the San Onofre nuclear plant.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith filed an order on Tuesday overruling, in part, the CPUC’s objection to the releasing of emails regarding the San Onofre nuclear plant failure and leaked radiation.
Goldsmith said that following the 2012 closure of the nuclear plant the CPUC met with Southern California Edison, a partial owner of the plant, and came to an agreement assigning $3.3 billion in costs associated with the shutdown of the plant to utility ratepayers, instead of utility company shareholders.
“The CPUC takes the extraordinary position that the passing of utility company losses to ratepayers is simply an ordinary rate setting matter and therefore regulatory. This Court disagrees,” Goldsmith rules.
This $3.3 billion agreement outlined on hotel stationary, Goldsmith said, was made “in a hotel room in Warsaw, Poland at an ex parte meeting” between former CPUC President Michael Peevey and former So Cal Edison executive Stephen Pickett.
The CPUC then failed to comply with a warrant obtained by the California Office of the Attorney General for records related to the Warsaw meeting, closure of the nuclear power plant, and the agreement to shift the $3.3 billion in utility company losses to ratepayers.
Goldsmith said the CPUC also failed to turn the communications over to lawyer, and former San Diego City Attorney Michael Aquirre, under the California Public Records Act.
The judge states that “To consider this merely an ordinary rate setting regulatory matter would do violence to the right of citizens in a democracy to know the actions taken by their public officials, the reason for them, and the circumstances under which they were taken.”
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter