How communities adjust to nuclear power plant closures
Dozens of San Luis Obispo County agencies are at least a few hundred dollars richer this week, after the county began disbursing funds from the $85 million Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant closure settlement.
According to a county news release on Monday, the county received the first installment of the settlement funds last week.
PG&E is expected to begin decommissioning the local nuclear power plant when the permits for its two reactors expire in 2024 and 2025.
The settlement was made possible by SB 1090, which allowed PG&E to collect the $85 million from ratepayers, despite the California Public Utilities Commission saying it did not believe that cost should be borne by ratepayers.
This week, $18.75 million was distributed among 71 local public agencies “to support essential services that risk losing funding as Diablo Canyon nears closure,” according to the news release.
The remainder of the settlement will be released in annual installments through 2025, according to assistant county administrative officer Guy Savage.
The amounts distributed this week varied by group from a low of $118.94 — to the county service area of Montecito Verde in Nipomo — to million-dollar payouts to two local agencies.
San Luis Coastal Unified School District was the biggest winner with $9.2 million, $2 million of which is expected to go into the district’s new education foundation fund.
The school district — which encompasses 15 schools from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay — was expected to be the hardest hit by the loss of Diablo Canyon’s property taxes when it closes.
San Luis Coastal Superintendent Eric Prater told The Tribune in April that the district could face budget cuts of between $9 and $10 million once the plant closes.
In total, San Luis Coastal is expected to receive more than $36.8 million in settlement payments — about 49 percent of the settlement amount to be disbursed over time.
The next highest payment recipient was the County of San Luis Obispo, where almost $7 million has been deposited into the county’s General Fund. Through 2025, the county is expected to add almost $28 million to its General Fund coffers.
For a to-the-cents breakdown of the settlement disbursement among all 71 agencies, check out our chart below:
Economic development funding
Ten million dollars were also set aside for economic development by the county and incorporated cities.
The county received $400,000 of that earlier in 2019, Savage said, followed by $9.6 million this week.
The money was split between the county and the six cities that participated in settlement negotiations: Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. (Grover Beach chose to not participate.)
The county received the largest chunk of that at $4.24 million, with the city of San Luis Obispo receiving the most of any city, $1.82 million.
For a breakdown of the economic development funds, check out our chart below: