SONGS outages cause power price spike in southern California

California wholesale prices

Graph courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The ongoing outages of both reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) have caused a spike in power prices across southern California, according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The cost of the outages is visible in the persistent price differential between Northern and Southern California, where electricity prices have consistently been 12 percent, or $4.15/MWh, higher than in the northern part of the state.

The ongoing outages stem from a small leak of radioactive steam discovered in January 2012. Plant operator Southern California Edison is pushing to restart the reactors this summer and run them at 70 percent power. A meeting between SCE representatives and NRC officials to discuss a potential change in the plant’s operating license allowing it to reopen is expected on April 3.

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