CPUC to meet in SLO over planned PG&E rate hike

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a pair of meetings in San Luis Obispo this week to gather input from local residents and ratepayers on PG&E’s plan to raise rates to offset the rising cost of decommissioning the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. [Tribune]

In December, PG&E filed a report with the California Public Utilities Commission that stated the total cost of decommissioning Diablo Canyon will be about $4.8 billion, an approximately $1 billion increase from a previous estimate in a 2015 report. PG&E has thus far allocated $3.2 billion toward decommissioning Diablo Canyon.

The utility is seeking to collect an additional $1.6 billion from ratepayers by 2025. Under PG&E’s current proposal, the typical customer’s monthly bill would increase by about $1.98, or 2 percent, with the rate hike remaining in effect until 2025.

PG&E’s latest decommissioning cost estimate factors in the expenses of tearing down and removing the entire plant on an accelerated schedule. If PG&E can recycle or reuse any of the existing facilities for other purposes, or if it decommissions the plant over a longer period of time, the cost of decommissioning could change. But, the utility’s Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel strongly advised against delaying the decommissioning of the nuclear plant.

This week, the CPUC will hold meetings on Wednesday and Thursday in the SLO County Board of Supervisors Chambers to receive public input. On Wednesday, the CPUC will meet at 5 p.m., followed by a public forum at 6 p.m. The commission will meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday, followed by a public forum at 11 a.m.

PG&E will present its case for the proposed rate hike at a series of hearings before an administrative law judge in late September. The administrative law judge is expected to rule on the rate hike by the end of 2019.