Edison manipulated costs at San Onofre, complaint alleges
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An advocacy group filed a complaint Wednesday with the California Public Utilities Commission alleging that Southern California Edison manipulated inflation calculations to recover more money from ratepayers for defective replacement steam generators at the San Onofre nuclear plant.
The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility complaint alleges that Edison violated federal securities law by misrepresenting the authorized inflation adjustment by as much as $100 million in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and might have overbilled customers using the inflated figures.
John Geesman, an attorney for the alliance, characterized the alleged actions as "plain old-fashioned financial chicanery."
The PUC authorized Edison and SDG&E in 2005 to spend up to $782 million in ratepayer funds on the replacement project, but agreed to review whether any costs exceeding $671 million were reasonable.
The commission did not specify an inflation adjustment at the time. That was to be determined when Edison submitted its final accounting of project costs and applied to include the costs permanently in rates.
The company has not yet filed that application but is expected to do so in March. In the meantime, Edison received permission from the PUC to include costs of the steam generators on bills in 2011 and 2012 of $56.7 million and $115.2 million, respectively. A request to recover costs in 2013 is pending.