Environment

PG&E wants to increase your bill to decommission Diablo Canyon. Here’s how to weigh in

As the 2025 closing date for Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant creeps closer, PG&E is looking into how it hopes to fund the much longer process of decommissioning.

Its solution will likely come out of your bill.

A pair of meetings will be held in San Luis Obispo this week to garner local feedback on the plan.

PG&E filed its Nuclear Decommissioning Cost Triennial Proceedings with the California Public Utilities Commission in December, claiming that the total cost of decommissioning Diablo Canyon will be about $4.8 billion — up from the $3.8 billion it estimated in its last triennial report in 2015.

That estimate includes the cost of tearing down and removing the entire power plant on an accelerated schedule.

The cost could change if the utility company can recycle or reuse any of the existing facilities for other purposes, or if it chooses to decommission over a longer period of time. PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel strongly advised against the latter option.

With only $3.2 billion in its decommissioning coffers, this means PG&E needs to collect $1.6 billion more from ratepayers by 2025.

PG&E’s proposed short-term rate increase would translate to about $1.98 more per bill for the typical residential customer, although the exact amount would vary by usage. Most would see an about 2 percent increase.

PG&E representatives told The Tribune in a December 2018 interview that the rate increase is necessary to begin the safe and immediate shutdown of the plant.

The CPUC has scheduled two meetings in San Luis Obispo to garner local input on the rate increase.

The first meeting will be held Wednesday at 5 p.m. followed by a public forum at 6 p.m. The second is on Thursday at 10 a.m., with a public forum at 11 a.m.

Both meetings will take place in the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors Chamber at 1055 Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo.

After the meetings, an administrative law judge will hear PG&E’s case for the rate increase at hearings in late September. A decision is expected sometime by the end of the year.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.
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