The California Public Utilities Commission ruled, on a 3-2 vote, that profits from sales of depreciable utility property for less than $10 million go entirely into ratepayer pockets. Ratepayers, however, must split with shareholders gains from nondepreciable property. "Extraordinary" sales, such as nuclear power plant transactions, would not fit into this new rule of thumb but would be treated on a case-by-case basis. "Predictability is important, so utilities can get on with the business of business life," said commissioner Rachelle Chong. Her alternate decision grabbed the swing vote May 25. The two commissioners who opposed the plan, Mike Peevey and Dian Grueneich, contested it because there was not enough payback to ratepayers. "It's far too rich for shareholders," said Peevey. Ratepayers will get the profits from sales on depreciable properties, such as buildings, but will have to split profits from sales on integral values such as land and water rights. The adopted commission decision explained that this split induces utilities to better manage assets. At the same meeting, the commission allowed Southern California Edison to account for $5 million in payment for the cost of an agreement with Peabody Coal to keep its Mohave power plant on standby. However, the commission did vote unanimously to not allow Edison to account for a related agreement with Black Mesa Pipeline. Allowing the money to be accounted for is a critical step for having it later covered in rate base. The Peabody agreement at issue is fuel-related. Edison expects the deal to preserve its coal supply in case the Mohave plant is reopened. The plant shut down at the end of last year pursuant to a multiparty consent decree. It would take significant investments in pollution control to allow it to reopen. If it does reopen, the utility predicts that it will not do so before 2010. According to regulatory staff, the utility failed to advise the commission of the Black Mesa agreement. While Peabody provided the coal, Black Mesa shipped the fuel to the Mohave power plant. The Black Mesa standby agreement cost $809,000. Edison may still file for reimbursement in a separate docket, according to the commission. The account in which the money is noted still has to be reviewed before ratepayers are subject to paying for it.