Southern California Edison management will not recommend investing about $680 million in new steam generators for its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, according to Edison chief executive officer Alan Fohrer. Without replacement of the plant's steam generators, the utility estimates the units will have to shut down by 2012. In a November 22 letter to California Public Utilities Commission members, Fohrer lamented that the proposed decision in the case is "unreasonable and inconsistent with traditional cost-of-service ratemaking." A CPUC proposed ruling finds the investments only "marginally cost-effective." It would also impose a cap on spending. If approved by the commission as scheduled December 1, it would put the utility at risk for after-the-fact review of its investment decisions. If it found an investment of ratepayer funds unreasonable, the commission could disallow all or part of that investment (Circuit, Nov. 4, 2005). "The CPUC should take this as a sign," said Rochelle Becker, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility executive director. She added that if Edison is "not willing to commit to the cost estimates in its application," the replacement "may prove to be both more costly and economically risky than the utility would have ratepayers believe." In a detailed response to the CPUC's proposed decision filed November 21, Edison argued that the decision's cost cap of $680 million "unreasonably limits SCE?s recovery of reasonable costs incurred to meet its obligation to serve customers." The utility also calls the cost cap an "unprecedented and unreasonable penalty." "Shareholders gain nothing from this" proposed decision, "compared to traditional cost-of-service ratemaking. . . . Ratepayers, on the other hand, have the happy prospect that they will be charged no more than the caps set," states Edison. "The commission should not attempt to guarantee ratepayers benefits in this docket," the utility concludes. An Edison spokesperson said he did not have the leeway to comment due to the Thanksgiving holiday. A source at the commission called the letter a "bluff." Edison owns the lion's share of the nuclear facility. Anaheim and San Diego Gas & Electric, which own small shares, refused to participate in the plan for steam generator replacement. The CPUC assumes that will leave Edison with more than 90 percent of the nuclear plant's ownership.