You may have heard about a settlement that TURN and other consumer groups entered into addressing the costs of Edison’s botched nuclear plant, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). What you may not have heard is that as a result of this settlement, customers of Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric will pay lower bills. The settlement requires both companies to lower 2015 rates to reflect refunds of excessive costs paid by customers in the past. Remember, the flawed steam generators were installed over TURN’s objections and led to the plant being prematurely shuttered after Edison botched the job.
The settlement does not allow Edison to keep any of the money customers have paid for the steam generators after the plant ceased operations in 2012. Key provisions include:
- SCE customers will receive refunds of approximately $506 million. SDG&E customers will receive refunds of approximately $154 million. Refunds will be credited against 2015 rates.
- Customers will receive a significant share of any money recovered by the utilities from Mitsubishi (the manufacturer of the defective steam generators) and Nuclear Energy Insurance Limited.
- Customers will receive credits for most of the value of unused nuclear fuel and other materials and supplies that will be sold. These credits are not included in the above refund amounts and could total hundreds of millions of dollars more!The settlement was agreed upon by our consumer coalition because it offered more favorable terms than have been won in similar past CPUC decisions for plants that closed prematurely. Utilities are normally allowed to recover their investments even if plants are taken offline early. In addition to securing actual refunds for Edison and SDG&E customers, the settlement reduces those underlying costs. In fact, customers have ALREADY paid almost 90% of the total required under the settlement. Any remaining customer costs will likely be eliminated when additional refunds associated with nuclear fuel, materials and supplies, litigation and insurance claims are realized.
Thanks to this settlement, customers of Edison and SDG&E can look forward to lower bills in the coming year.