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$54M Per Month For Offline Power Plant? Customers May Get Rebate

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SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — A consumer advocate on Tuesday called for Southern California Edison to provide rebates to customers who continue to pay for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station months after the plant went offline.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the call comes ahead of a deadline that will trigger an investigation in which the commission must consider lowering rates.

Joseph P. Como, acting director of the Public Utilities Commission’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates, wrote a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission arguing that any revenues collected while San Onofre remains offline could violate state law.

“The utility should not be able to get money from its customers to recoup that investment unless the plant is actually providing a service to the customers,” said Como.

Como said customers are paying approximately $54 million every month for operation and maintenance costs for the plant located near the San Diego-Orange County line after its two active reactors were shut down in January.

The development has left Edison customers in Santa Monica and throughout the Southland upset.

“It’s the same as we’ve seen in a lot of our government these days, we’ve got a lot of waste and nobody overseeing this,” said one ratepayer.

While one of those reactors had been scheduled for repairs, the other was abruptly shut down on January 31 after a faulty piece of equipment leaked a small amount of radioactive steam into the surrounding locale.

Under state law, the Public Utilities Commission must begin an investigation into lowering rates in November — at which point another $150 million in revenue would have been collected for an non-operational facility.

No official scheduled restart dates for the plant have been announced.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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