Staff Report

State officials will seek public input this week on Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) plan to close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, a decision that will have a significant impact on the economy in San Luis Obispo County.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold two meetings at the Ludwick Community Center in San Luis Obispo Thursday, Sept. 14, at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. During those meetings, the CPUC will consider public comments that will be factored into its decision whether to approve the closure plan, including an agreement with PG&E that would provide up to $147.5 million for local communities.

In June 2016, PG&E announced that it would not seek to renew its license for the plant, with the intention to completely close it by 2025. Diablo Canyon, the county’s largest private employer, has an annual economic impact in the region of approximately $1 billion.

Wanting to minimize the impact the closure will have on the region, six cities – San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande – formed a Coalition of Cities to ensure that PG&E helps smooth the transition. The utility company later agreed to pay $85 million to the cities, the county and San Luis Coastal Unified School District. The money would help offset property tax losses and support economic development and emergency planning efforts.  The value of the negotiated agreement with PG&E is estimated between $122.5 million and $147.5 million, and includes between $37.5 million and $62.5 million for emergency services.

However, that deal will only take effect if approved by the CPUC.

The Coalition of Cities urges community members to express their support for the agreement with PG&E, which will help the communities address the challenges the plant closure will pose.

For those unable to attend the hearing, written comments may be submitted to: CPUC Public Advisor, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102, or via email to Refer to proceeding number A.16-08-006 on any correspondence.

Diablo Canyon, the last nuclear power plant operating in California, employs roughly 1,500 people in San Luis Obispo County.  Those employees, who earn an average annual salary of $157,000, pledged $720,000 in 2017 to nonprofit organizations through the company’s “Campaign for the Community” program.  They also contribute to the local economy by purchasing goods and services.

Commercial operation of the plant began in 1985.