PG&E Will Pay SLO County, Cities and School Districts for Diablo Canyon Closure

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PG&E has agreed to pay $85 million to seven local cities, San Luis Coastal Unified School District and San Luis Obispo County to support those agencies after Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s proposed closure in 2025. That’s up from $49.5 million that it originally proposed.

In June, when PG&E announced its plans to close California's only remaining nuclear power plant, the utility proposed paying a cumulative $49.5 million to San Luis Obispo County to make up for losses in property taxes, as well as allocating $350 million to an employee retention and retraining program that would aid Diablo Canyon workers through the closure and decommissioning.

Under the new proposal:

▪  $75 million would go to offset property tax losses by the school district, county and 69 other special districts. Of that, San Luis Coastal — which now gets $8 million a year — would get about $36.8 million over the next nine years until the plant closes in 2025. It plans to put $2 million a year for the first five years into an endowment fund to help offset revenue losses after the plant closes. The original proposal called for the district to get about $24.3 million.

▪ $10 million would go for economic development efforts in the county and cities. This could include incentives, loans and grants for businesses, as well as help with infrastructure.

▪  Between $37.5 million and $62.5 million would go toward local emergency planning efforts until all spent fuel is in dry cask storage and the two nuclear reactors are fully decommissioned.

▪  The agreement reiterates that PG&E will make no decisions on reuse or sale of the land surrounding the plant, including Wild Cherry Canyon, until it has completed a decommissioning plan with input from the community.

▪  Negotiations can reopen after the release of an economic impact report required by a state bill authored by Sen. Bill Monning, D-Monterey, and outgoing Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian.

The agreement is subject to approval by the parties affected, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission. The PUC is expected to consider it in mid-2017. The ratepayers would foot the bill for the entire cost.

The $10 million economic development fund, which will be used to replace lost high-paying jobs, will be divided into three parts: a $400,000 study to evaluate strategies; $5.76 million to the coalition of cities; and $3.84 million to the county, which will share part of that with Grover Beach.

The funds could be used to encourage local companies to expand or recruit businesses to San Luis Obispo County, helping to at least partially fill the anticipated hole in the economy once the power plant closes. Officials are especially concerned because of the plant’s head-of-household jobs; in 2014, the plant paid about 1,500 employees on average an annual salary of $157,000.  (San Luis Obispo Tribune, Nov 28, 2016)