Diablo Canyon Intervenors Cry Foul over Compensation Cuts

By Published On: August 4, 2006

Consumer advocates and other parties who intervened in regulatory proceedings over the $700 million upgrade to Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant protested the California Public Utilities Commission’s cutting of their intervenor compensation claims. In a petition for rehearing filed at the CPUC August 2, The Utility Reform Network, Mothers for Peace, and the Aglet Consumer Alliance assert that regulators’ rationale for cutting their cost of participating in hearings on the steam generator replacement at Diablo was legally erroneous. The parties’ total request was $660,000 – an amount not protested by PG&E. “In light of the underlying issue and the labor and resource intensive nature of the work,” the intervenors said, the CPUC should have found the claims reasonable. The parties also insist that they met the requisite “substantial contribution” test applied to intervenor compensation requests. TURN’s compensation request was cut 40 percent, from $168,000 to $107,000. The Mothers for Peace tab was chopped by two-thirds, from $430,000 to $146,000. Aglet’s intervenor compensation request was cut by more than half, from $65,000 to $30,000. Although the commission’s final decision did not agree with most of the intervenors’ recommendations, “there was nothing in the process” leading up to the decision “that suggested the commission thought it had been presented with anything other than the advocates’ efforts of the highest quality on issues related to the proceedings,” they stated in a joint filing. Intervenor compensation is provided by utility ratepayers. In theory, it supports public participation that counters utility litigation and assists state legal efforts – also paid for by ratepayers, but without a requirement for CPUC approval.

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