A judge for the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision Nov. 8 that would approve Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s application to shutter Diablo Canyon Power Plant but would deny several individual elements of the plan.

Administrative Law Judge Peter V. Allen issued the proposed decision, but it will have no legal effect until and if it is approved by the CPUC, which could happen no sooner than Dec. 14.

As proposed, the decision would deny PG&E’s proposed energy efficiency, replacement procurement and greenhouse gas proposals as well as its employee retention program, although it would authorize the utility to recover $160.5 million in electric rates for an employee retention program.

It also would authorize the company to use electric rates to recover $11.3 million for the company’s Diablo Canyon employee retraining program and $18.6 million to cover the costs of previously applying for a license renewal from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The decision would not approve a ratepayer funding of a community impacts mitigation program but would approve a modified settlement over canceled capital improvement projects.

In a statement issued following the release of the proposed decision, PG&E said it strongly disagreed with the proposed decision on the employee, community and energy replacement aspects of the company’s submitted plan.

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“All of these programs support the key focus of the joint proposal, which is having (Diablo Canyon Power Plant) serve as a reliable and affordable clean energy bridge to 2025 while other greenhouse gas-free replacement resources are developed to replace the output we need to meet customer demand,” the statement said.

PG&E intends to close Diablo Canyon by 2025 as part of an agreement reached with several environmental groups that had been calling for the facility's closure since before construction was completed.

The closure would mean nearly 1,500 workers could lose their jobs and would deliver a financial blow to San Luis Obispo County, where the plant has a $920 million annual impact on the economy.

PG&E intends to spend $350 million to retrain plant employees for decommissioning the plant and pay the county $50 million to offset declining property taxes for the next nine years, recouping those costs through increased electric rates.

This report was compiled by News Editor Mike Hodgson. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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