6/21/16 – Families of Diablo Canyon workers unsure of futures
Publish Date: 6/21/2016
By: Megan Abundis
Diablo Canyon Power Plant is one of the largest employers, taxpayers and charitable contributors in the San Luis Obispo area. Currently, the plant contributes approximately $22 million in property taxes per year to the local community.
PG&E families, though, may feel the greatest impact. 1,500 engineers, operators and many other workers are employed by Diablo Canyon. Those families are now scrambling and trying to figure out how they’re going to survive when the plant closes.
Susannah Bee’s husband works at the plant and she said, “Immediately I thought, ‘We just bought this house in San Luis Obispo 13 months ago, we had a baby nine months ago and my husband might be out of a job soon.’ So that’s scary for anybody.”
The Economic Vitality Corporation of SLO says the plant generates more than $1 billion per year for the local economy.
PG&E and SLO County District Three Supervisor Adam Hill say the power plant plans to compensate SLO County for some of the loss.
“We know from the agreement that there is going to be a $50 million offset provided for property tax lowering,” Hill said. “They are going to try to work with not just the community, but they have a pretty aggressive employee retention program, so we hope that that will keep people there for at least eight years.”
Bee’s husband has been with the company for over ten years.
“It’s not like he can just pick up and go and start a new job. It’s a long, intensive process that he’s dedicated at least 20 years to getting his job.”
Susannah’s husband told her that his license won’t necessarily transfer to another plant.
Supervisor Hill says the closing of the plant will test people’s resilience, but that the community will be able to withstand it.
In a conference call Tuesday, PG&E stated it will spend $350 million to help retain workers while the plant is still functioning. But the question of how many people will be let go while the plant winds down still remains.
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