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Prepondering the evidence: Judge rules in CPS-NRG nuke nonsense


Karen Seal knows why you hate your utility, she's just not at liberty to tell you.


Greg Harman
gharman@sacurrent.com

The conference call held this morning could by no stretch of the most twisted Manga creator’s imagination be considered alt-weekly friendly. Some of us were deep beneath a pile of second-hand blankets and renegade felines — not hip for hangovers, but weird enough to imagine we were in chrysalis —when NRG Energy’s 8:00 am (Eastern) phoner came and went.

Fortunately, the various newes and muses were harder to contain than a barrel of nuclear monkeys.

As I suspected, NRG CEO David Crane’s “forward-looking” statements made by dawn’s early light were quickly eclipsed by San Anto’s master of the 408th District Court, the merrily rhyming Judge Larry Noll.

In Solomoniacal wisdom, Noll ruled that SA-owned CPS Energy can split with partner NRG without losing those millions of freshly scrubbed Benjamins. Or not all of them, anyway. (If you need the backstory on CPS and all its hurt feelings, eject now!)

To date, CPS has spent about $350 million on the planned expansion of the South Texas Project nuclear project. Noll said that while the contract between the two does not define what should happen if the parties split, CPS should be compensated if it drops out. “The Supplemental Contract does not equate cessation of participation in the project as an event of default,” he wrote.

However, channeling his inner Johnnie Cochran, Noll added a “Word of Caution” to the City — that CPS would have to keep paying into the project if it wanted to remain a 50-percent partner. “If you want to be in the Play, you have to pay or you can’t stay,” he wrote. “You will eventually lose your equity share.”

So negotiations must resume as to what CPS should receive for backing out at the last minute (in this case, the “last minute” being defined as the minute after City Hall and area ratepayers first learned that CPS promises all last summer related to the ultimate cost of the project may have been “rounded down” by $4 billion.)

Still, Crane’s call-in was useful. We received multiple emails from those whose yogic powers and/or sedatives were more powerful and/or less obliterating than our own.

One interesting slide being tentatively titled by some, “Fuck All This”...



So, like (paraphrasing here):

Scenario A:
Fuck with us and we’re out;

Scenario B:
See Scenario A.

[Of course, President Obama, eager to reboot his relationship with a non-majority Senate by reining in spending wants to loose gazillions of dollars in new nuke loan guarantees. As a fiscal conservative move, that's for doctoral-candidate news analysts to make sense of, knowing  the GAO estimates that about half of those loans will never be paid back.]

Meanwhile, back at the headquarters of Karen Seal, attorney for the tossed together Ratepayers Sumthin-Sumthin for Destroying All Vestiges of Corruption That Remain Coalition, the mood was moderate to light.

“I think we all felt that a lot of information wasn’t getting out,” said Seal. “Every time NRG would try to bring something in, CPS would object and the judge would dismiss it.”

By being joined to the suit, Seal sits on a wealth of information about CPS’s practices pre-Reformation. “It shows that CPS was very, very deceitful to the people of San Antonio. They need, from the bottom up, to get rid of these people. To me, they’re criminal and under normal circumstances they would have been gone.”

Wading out of her secret dirty document stream, Seal advocates the creation of an oversight committee that would be able to sit in on all CPS and CPS Board of Trustee meetings and report back to the City Council. “This is nonsense,” Seal said.

We’re not calling CPS’s huffy interim GM Jelynne LeBlanc Burley, because, you know, she denied us an interview last round anyway, and, you know, it is 5 pm on a Friday. And, besides, nonsense is something we at the Current are intimately acquainted with.

What do you think the alt-weekly writing life is all about? Hounding power suits? I don’t think so.

Posted by gharman on 1/29/2010 6:09:34 PM
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