Edison Pulls Plug On Major Power Plant

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Edison Pulls Plug On Major Power Plant Reactor To Shut Down For Routine Repairs

SAN ONOFRE, Calif., Updated 9:48 a.m. PST December 28, 2000 -- A major power plant will be cutting down to half speed in the midst of Southern California's energy crisis.

Southern California Edison will close one of its two reactors in San Onofre for refueling and routine maintenance.

The nuclear reactor will be shut down for the next 45 days, which may tighten the already short supply of electricity in the state.

The utility reassured its 11 million customers that there will not be any blackouts when the reactor is shut down on Tuesday.

The state has been strapped for energy sources and consumer advocates caution that the closure may drive electricity prices higher.

The twin San Onofre reactors generate about 2,300 megawatts of electricity, which represents about 20 percent of Southern California's power supply.

Meanwhile, California's Public Utilities Commission resumed their second day of hearings Thursday in San Francisco with the state's two largest public utilities, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric.

The two companies are pressing for up to a 30 percent increase in electricity rates, claiming that deregulation has left them facing possible bankruptcy, CBS 2 News reported.

Consumer advocates argued Wednesday that the companies gambled with deregulation and should pay the consequences, the news station said.

"Utilities knowingly took a risk, and it's their problem that it didn't work out," said Mike Florio, a senior attorney with the Utility Reform Network in San Francisco, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A decision in the rate hike is expected to be reached by Jan. 5, 2001.

In Washington, D.C., Governor Gray Davis met with President Clinton to brief him about the state's crisis, saying that it will not soon be over.

"We already have six plants under construction, which is the sum total of plants that have been built in the last 16 years in California, and I'm confident that with more conservation and more supply we will see this problem through," Governor Davis told CBS 2 News.

The building of the new plants is expected to take at least two years, the TV station reported.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), December 29, 2000


The two companies are pressing for up to a 30 percent increase in electricity rates,

Don't they realize that such increases will drive businesses from their state? At least, that's what we're facing in Alberta.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), December 29, 2000.

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