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California power prices up 59 percent after San Onofre nuclear plant shutdown

A public workshop Tuesday about safety and the storage of radioactive nuclear waste at the closed San Onofre nuclear plant is not as public as some activists would like it to be. (Photo: The sun sets behind the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County).
Ed Joyce/KPCC
Federal number crunchers said the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant is partially to blame for a 59 percent increase in wholesale electricity prices for California. (Photo:The sun sets behind the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County).

Federal number crunchers said the shutdown of the seaside San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is partially to blame for a 59 percent increase in wholesale electricity prices for California during the first half of the year.
    
The Energy Information Administration said the closure also caused a "large and unusual separation" in power prices between the northern and southern parts of the state. Southern California prices were much higher.
    
Agency spokesman M. Tyson Brown said the main reason for the increase is the rebound in historically low natural gas prices. Natural gas generation is California's principal source of electricity.
    
U-T San Diego reports a wholesale price spike could mean higher average utility bills. Utilities must get regulatory approval before passing the costs onto consumers.
    
The nuclear plant provided energy to supply 1.4 million homes.