It\u2019s in the \u201cpublic interest\u201d to pass on the cost of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station closure to ratepayers even though they are not receiving electricity from the facility, major owner Southern California Edison stated in a Dec. 17 California Public Utilities Commission filing. \u201cMaintaining authorized rates enables Edison to work toward restart,\u201d the utility noted. San Diego Gas &amp; Electric, which owns a 20 percent stake in the plant, concurred, adding that if regulators \u201cwish to consider reducing rates sooner, [they] must hold an evidentiary hearing before implementing any such rate reduction\u201d on top of the current investigation into the costs and management of the nuclear plant. For its part, Edison has $545 million of plant costs incorporated into the ratebase as of the end of October. The utility argued that taking the plant\u2019s share out of rates not only \u201cstops a significant portion of cash flow,\u201d to the utility but would create a concern over credit rating decline, and a coincident potential increase in the cost of borrowing money. Edison \u201cdoes not have unlimited capacity to obtain additional financing from external sources,\u201d the utility noted. If pressed, Edison called for exempting $91.5 million from refund or removal from ratebase. That exemption should include, the utility advised, \u201cactivities that must be undertaken at SONGS regardless of whether the plant operates.\u201d For instance, even if permanently shut down, Edison would be \u201crequired to continue to ensure the safe and secure maintenance of used fuel in dry cask storage.\u201d It should also entail $64 million for seismic studies, \u201cat least 75 percent of authorized amount for the regulatory affairs group, and 15 percent of the authorized amount for the engineering,\u201d as well as amounts for maintenance and operations. The facility was shut down in January due to excessive wear in its nearly new $670 million steam generators.