The San Onofre nuclear plant has consistently been one of the least profitable power station for its stakeholders, and is now forced to possibly face its own “2012” scenario, including potentially incurring millions of dollars of fines as the result of the September 2011 blackout, as multiple key issues continue to rapidly gain critical ground.
Edison International, the parent company of operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station, Southern California Edison, reported first quarter 2012 basic earnings of $0.28 per share this week, some $0.33 lower than basic earnings of $0.61 per share in the same quarter last year.
First quarter 2012 core earnings were $0.35 per share, down $0.30 when compared to core earnings of $0.65 per share in the first quarter of 2011.
SCEs first quarter 2012 basic and core earnings were down $0.08 compared to last year at $0.56 per share in 2012, as compared to $0.68 per share in the first quarter of 2011.
The decrease in earnings primarily related to losses at Edison MissionGroups (EMG) Midwest Generation unit and to a delay in the 2012 rate case decision at Southern California Edison (SCE).
Southern California Edison incurred higher costs in the quarter to support its ongoing investment programs, but the says that the revenues to support these investment programs are pending a decision from California regulators.
SCE also incurred $0.04 per share of incremental steam generator inspection and repair costs related to outages at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station that were offset by other operation and maintenance cost reductions.
SCE is expected to file a request at the NRC in 2013 for 20-year license extensions at SONGS. Licenses to operate SONGS Units 2 and 3 would be extended until 2042 if approved by the NRC.
The company will provide 2012 earnings guidance after SCE has received a final decision on its 2012 General Rate Case from the CPUC.
“The timing impact on SCEs first quarter results should correct itself when a final rate case decision is received, said Ted Craver, chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International. ”
Will a rate decision be made in the utilities favor?
The SONGS facility was heavily scrutinized by a federal inquiry which was released this week (See FERC/NERC Staff Report on the September 8, 2011 Blackout), who concluded that “a lack of information-sharing among electricity regulators” and “an overly conservative circuit-breaker design” at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station were the culprits of the mysterious blackout that left millions of homes and businesses in the dark on September 8th, 2011.
The inquiry’s simulation indicated that the blackout would not have occurred, if the SONGS separation scheme had not operated, resulting in what would have been limited impact to the rest of the Western Interconnection.
Further, the inquiry’s simulation of the event showed that the inadvertent operation of the SONGS separation scheme could lead to a voltage collapse and blackout in the SDG&E areas, even under normal system operations (e.g., in the absence of any outages, overloads, or SOL violations).
Based on this simulation, the inquiry determined that the operation of the scheme could result in voltage collapse and a blackout in SDG&E’s and CFE’s territories.
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