IRVINE ( — The California Public Utilities Commission will investigate the nine-month outage at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The five commissioners voted unanimously in Irvine Thursday to determine who caused the outage at the plant, which was closed because of safety concerns due to the unusual wear on steam tubes inside the reactors.

The commissioners will also decide if there should be a refund for energy consumers who continue to pay rates for the crippled plant.

The bill for repairs and inspections of the power plant has topped $165 million and ratepayers are covering the $360 million worth of annual costs for the station.

“There will be some relief for customers in some form, but what exactly that turns out to be will depend on where the evidence takes us,” said Commissioner Michael Florio.

Before the end of the year, the commissioners will hear testimony from Southern California Edison, which owns the majority of the San Onofre station.

“As we’ve stated, for those (repair) costs, we will seek our availability through warranties and also through insurance before we consider looking to the (commission as to how to cover costs),” said Jennifer Manadre from So Cal Edison.

Orange County resident Laurie Headrick said San Onofre isn’t cost-effective and she wants it shut down.

“We are at risk for soon paying for the badly-designed replacement steam generators at San Onofre. The expenses associated with the outage and the operating and maintenance fees…” she said.


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