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San Onofre Deal in Federal Court

Citizens Oversight (2015-04-14) Ray Lutz

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More Info: California Public Utilities Commission, San Onofre Settlement Federal Case, Shut San Onofre, Stop The Unfair Settlement


San Onofre Deal In Federal Court

Peevey's Warsaw Notes Strengthens Ratepayer Advocate's Position

Oral Argument to be heard on motion to dismiss April 16, 2015

SAN DIEGO (2015-04-14) -- The $3.3 billion San Onofre settlement deal has been challenged as an unconstitutional "taking", in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by ratepayer advocate Citizens' Oversight et al,, and the first real hearing will occur in the case at 3pm on April 16, 2015 in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

  • WHEN: 2015-04-16 3pm
  • WHERE: U.S. District Court, San DIego
    • Hon. Cathy Ann Bencivengo
    • Courtroom 4C
    • 4th Floor - Schwartz Building (This is the older brick building)
    • 221 West Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had planned to fully investigate the emergency shutdown and radioactivity release at the San Onofre nuclear plant, but cut the investigation short. On November 20, 2014, the CPUC approved a settlement agreement including $3.3 billion in payments by ratepayers while company shareholders get off arguably without even a scratch. The settlement was put into motion by an improper meeting between CPUC President Michael Peevey and Southern California Edison (SCE) General Counsel Stephen Pickett at the Bristol Hotel in Warsaw Poland on March 26, 2013.

State Attorney General investigators searched Peevey's home under felony warrants and confiscated the infamous "RSG Notes on Bristol Hotel Stationery", which was released to the public last week. The two-page note outlined a settlement -- in stunning detail -- that largely reflected the structure of the deal that was supposedly negotiated by the Office of Ratepayer Advocacy (ORA) and a single outside ratepayer advocate, TURN, The Utility Reform Network, over nearly a year of secret negotiations. The settlement was provided to other parties -- including Citizens' Oversight and others -- on March 27, 2014 fait accompli, i.e. with no changes allowed.

Citizens' Oversight believes ratepayers are paying about $2.95 billion too much, a fact they believe would have come out if the proceedings had been allowed to proceed. But one of the items in the RSG Note was a statement -- supposedly made by Peevey -- that they would scuttle the proceeding and accept the settlement. Thus the meeting was not only an improper secret negotiation, but also a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The hearing on April 16 2015 is to determine the ruling on a motion to dismiss by the defendants, i.e. the utilities and CPUC, which is the standard first step in the prosecution of the case. This particular judge rarely holds oral argument hearings on a motion to dismiss, so the fact that we have this hearing at all is good news for the ratepayer.

If the judge denies the motion to dismiss, then the case will go forward, hopefully to undo the damage of the current settlement and complete the investigation so a lesson-learned document can be created. Without such a result, we may continue to make these mistakes, perhaps with even more catastrophic results.

"The ratepayer is being taken to the cleaners on this one," said Ray Lutz of Citizens Oversight. "With the Peevey Notes now open for all to see, it is hard to imagine the courts can rule to support the status quo without letting us have a shot of making our case. Let us bring this case to an honest venue outside the walls of the CPUC. If you are upset about the high cost of energy in this state, you are looking at the reason why: Ridiculous settlements like this one stack the deck for the utilities and against the ratepaying public."

UPDATE: The judge has issued a tentative ruling approving the motion to dismiss and disallowing any amendment to the complaint, attached below.

The RSG Notes from Warsaw will be instrumental in making the case that the "principles of due process" were not adhered to in this case.

PLEASE ATTEND! Citizens Oversight is encouraging any ratepayers who are upset with the cost of energy to respectfully attend this hearing to make it known that we are watching the case.


It is very important, if you can spare about an hour, for you to attend this hearing! I believe this judge is testing the water and may rule FOR THE PUBLIC if there is an obvious support by the public at the hearing, on THURSDAY at 3pm in the Federal Courthouse, 221 W Broadway (the older brick building). Please plan to arrive by 2:30.

You can park in the Horton Plaza shopping center free for three hours with validation. All you need do is walk through the mall and insert your parking card in one of the machines. I usually park near level 4 on the west side (there are two parking structures with up/down ramps adjacent and connected to each other). Enter the mall on level 4 and validate the parking card at the machine as you enter the mall. I always do this FIRST so I don't forget and I make sure I carefully handle the parking card (Don't lose it!) Walk out the west side (go down the escalators) and then walk about 2 blocks west and 1.5 blocks north. Entrance has been moved to the west side of the brick (Schwartz) building.

This judge is very inconsistent. First, she says she needs to hear oral arguments to see if any case can be made to deny dismissal. Then, she proposes that the case be dismissed "with prejudice" so it cannot be amended. Look, if it is such a open and shut case, then why have oral argument at all? If there is a chance that something can be brought to light in the oral arguments, then why is it valid not to allow amendment, which is supposed to be allowed unless it is truly obvious that it will be futile? I can only guess she is trying to make everyone happy, by coming out strong against it, she makes the utility company overlords happy, and she can test the water to see how much the public is outraged. I think we really need to have an overwhelming number of observers there to make it clear that the public is outraged. Then, there is a chance she will at least modify the decision to allow for amendment. Is not the fact that CPUC President Peevey met secretly in 2013 to orchestrate a settlement and scuttle the investigation a reason to believe that "due process" was not the case?? Honestly, if this judge allows this denial to stand, then -- well ^(*(%&^9.

Citizens' Oversight, the leading plaintiff in the lawsuit is a ratepayer advocacy organization has been a party in the San Onofre investigation at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and is a 501(c)3 Delaware corporation with offices in California. Citizens' Oversight is a client of Aguirre & Severson LLP in this case.

CONTACT: Ray Lutz / / 619-820-5321


  • Before the meeting:

  • After the hearing:

Media Form edit

Title San Onofre Deal in Federal Court
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Ray Lutz
Pub Date 2015-04-14
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Keywords California Public Utilities Commission, San Onofre Settlement Federal Case, Shut San Onofre, Stop The Unfair Settlement
Media Type Article
Media Group News, News Release
Curator Rating Plain
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10362520_10205125999407172_2354813873166418977_n.jpgjpg 10362520_10205125999407172_2354813873166418977_n.jpg manage 35 K 17 Apr 2015 - 14:13 Raymond Lutz Before the meeting
10995396_10205126033968036_679382149070710292_n.jpgjpg 10995396_10205126033968036_679382149070710292_n.jpg manage 40 K 17 Apr 2015 - 14:14 Raymond Lutz After the hearing
Doc_26-1-Tentative_Ruling_Granting_Motions_to_Dismiss.pdfpdf Doc_26-1-Tentative_Ruling_Granting_Motions_to_Dismiss.pdf manage 382 K 14 Apr 2015 - 20:06 Raymond Lutz Tentative ruling granting the motion to dismiss.
Topic revision: r5 - 25 Oct 2015, RaymondLutz
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