SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The city of Santa Maria's Chamber of Commerce has joined nine other groups on the Central Coast in support of the $85 million settlement that would help offset the hefty price tag of Diablo Canyon's closure.
The 10 agencies released a letter earlier this week voicing their concern after a judge ruled rate payers shouldn't pay for the settlement.
"We want to be part of the planning for that and having a chance to be part of understanding what it will mean. The plant doesn't directly fund our school districts or our city and county through property taxes. There are [however] a large number of their employees that live in Santa Maria and the surrounding communities. We are concerned about what happens to those folks and those jobs." said Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Glenn Morris.
Earlier this month, a judge ruled PG&E rate payers shouldn't pay for the $85 million settlement that would help offset the impact of the closure to the Central Coast.
This went against what both PG&E and places like the Santa Maria Valley Chamber were hoping for.
"This is a once in a lifetime kind of a deal in a community like ours and so for that to kinda just be ignored and invalidated, it was definitely upsetting," Morris explained.
Now it's up to the California Public Utilities Commission to decide whether or not to uphold the ruling.
If the PG&E settlement does get approved, a representative from the power company tells us in a statement:
PG&E does not believe long term customer rates will increase as a result of the Diablo Canyon joint proposal.
PG&E has proposed a small, short-term 1.6 percent rate increase to begin the safe and responsible transition away from nuclear energy, without increasing greenhouse gases. However, we anticipate the short term rate increase will be offset in the long term.
This is because relicensing and operating Diablo Canyon through 2044 would likely have had a higher overall cost for our customers than replacing it with a mix of renewables and energy efficiency. Based on our analysis, in some cases it could be almost twice as much to continue to operate Diablo Canyon as compared to the cost of replacement resources.
"As we said in the letter I think there's some validity to that the rate payers will continue to benefit from the clean and effective operation of that plant through the closure period," Morris said.
Now the CPUC's decision on this matter is expected to come out in the next few weeks. We'll keep you updated with the latest information once that comes in.