Utilities Commission propose modifications to shutting down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The California Utilities Commission Thursday issued proposed modifications to a settlement between utilities and ratepayer groups regarding the financial responsibilities in shutting down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The proposal — set to go before the commissioners next month for approval — comes in response to September comments by Commissioner Mike Florio that the original deal was flawed.

He said consumers would bear too much of the burden of paying for the shutdown of the nuclear plant on the northern San Diego County coastline and the cost of replacement power.

The plant has been idle since a small, non-injury leak in January 2012. Subsequent investigations placed the blame on steam generators made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan installed only a few years earlier.

The majority owner of the facility, Southern California Edison, shelved restart plans in June 2013 in favor of retiring the reactors.

SCE, San Diego Gas & Electric, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Office of Ratepayer Advocates and The Utility Reform Network negotiated a settlement that has since drawn stiff opposition for its costs.

The CPUC said today’s proposal would provide $1.3 billion in savings and credits to customers of the utilities.

“After careful consideration, I believe the settlement results in just and reasonable rates, is consistent with the law, reasonable in light of the whole record, and in the public interest,” Florio said. “The settlement allows SCE sufficient funds to safely and securely monitor many types of potential risks and contamination, particularly to maintain the safe management of nuclear fuel assemblies in the wet pool and the later transition to dry cask storage.”

Under the proposed settlement, SDG&E and Edison would stop further collection of the steam generator replacement project costs in rates, return all such costs collected after Jan. 31, 2012, to ratepayers, and accept a substantially lower return on other prematurely retired San Onofre assets, according to a commission statement.

Consumers would pay about $3.3 billion over 10 years, including the costs of power the utilities purchased for customers after the outage.

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