Order Could Lead To Release Of E-Mails Between Brown’s Office, CPUC

by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle

San Onofre nuclear plant

By Luke Jones from Anchorage / Creative Commons

The state Public Utilities Commission must justify its refusal to release e-mails that could reveal a behind-the-scenes role for Gov. Jerry Brown in a multibillion-dollar deal with two utilities that shut down a Southern California nuclear power plant, a San Francisco judge ruled Monday.

An attorney for the utilities’ customers says the e-mails could concern the shutdown deal that the commission approved in 2014 with the co-owners of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Diego County, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. The deal assigned about 70 percent of the $4.7 billion bill to customers.

The utilities commission says none of the e-mails between Brown’s office and the commission concerns the shutdown deal, and that none was sent by the governor personally.

The two companies closed San Onofre after a January 2012 leak of radioactive steam revealed widespread damage to its cooling system. It has not reopened.

A lawyer challenging the $3.3 billion charge to the utilities’ customers is seeking the e-mails as potential evidence of intervention in the shutdown negotiations by the governor’s office and top commission officials. The state attorney general’s office is also seeking the e-mails as part of its corruption probe of the agency.

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