Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Utility Steals $4.7-Billion from Customers

You must see this special report by Amita Sharma of KPBS News.

Sorrentino's LogoI've loved Sorrentino's Pizza in Clairemont Mesa for 20 years, you must try them, they make the best pizza in San Diego. They are right next to the SDG&E "Energy Innovation Center" & Stellar Solar (perfect irony), but Sorrrentino's business is being ruined by high utility bills.

Now, KPBS reveals that former California Public Utilities Commmission (PUC) President, Michael R. Peevey, a former executive for Southern California Edison had secret meetings with the utility company (in Warsaw Poland!), and squashed investigations into the San Onofre Nuclear Power Station (SONGS) debacle.

Peevey met with Southern California Edison executive Stephen Pickett at the opulent Hotel Bristol in Warsaw, Poland. There, they discussed a framework for a settlement agreement on San Onofre.
"That Poland meeting only came to light this year, after state investigators found notes about San Onofre’s defective replacement steam generators on Hotel Bristol stationery during a search of Peevey’s home in January. PUC officials and utility executives are the target of federal and state probes for alleged inappropriate contact and possible influence peddling. 
"Edison never reported the secret meeting to the PUC as required until after U-T San Diego published a story about the seized notes.
"The company explained the 23-month delay by characterizing the Poland conversation as an “update” on San Onofre that was “permissible and not reportable.” But the company goes on to say it now appears Pickett may have crossed into substantive communication."

Former San Diego City Attorney, Mike Aguirre, wanted to know just how did the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) reach a $4.7-Billion dollar settlement with such little public input. CPUC officials have had scores of private meetings and other contact with executives at Edison and minority owner San Diego Gas & Electric about San Onofre.

The Federal Oversight, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), says that Southern California Edison (SCE) never property licensed the defective generators, that caused the radiation leak and ultimately shut down SONGS. SCE's own contractor documents concerns about the design before the generators were installed. These PRIVATELY OWNED Utilities, like SCE and SDG&E, passed on their business costs for the $700-Million Generators to their customers without permission from the CPUC. Now, they are simply shifting the costs for their mistakes, and the premature decommissioning of our nuclear power plant, directly onto the rate-payers.

Rather than subtracting these business expenses out of their huge profit margins, investors in the utility corporations expect YOU, the rate-payers, to shoulder them. The California Public Utilities Commission had promised a probe into who was responsible for San Onofre’s defective equipment, but instead the secret back-room deals shifted the costs for their failure onto the utility customers.

Our Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) are privately held MONOPOLIES, and those who own their stock, like SEMPRA Energy, are taking a very limited MARKET RISK. With guaranteed cost-plus profit margins, these publicly regulated businesses are shielded from free-market competition, but they should NOT be shielded from losses due to incompetence and malfeasance. In passing on the costs of their mistakes on to utility customers, rate-payers are bearing the burden that would otherwise come out of utility profits.

Those who control our energy utilities, are simply gaming the system to avoid accountability.

1 comment:

  1. With the $989-million that is SDG&E's part of this scam, we could have put solar panels on 200,000 homes.