SDG&E ratepayers may not be on the hook for San Onofre's abrupt shutdown

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Gas and Electric customers may not be on the hook for $775 million in costs related to the San Onofre Nuclear Station's closing.

SDG&E, along with Southern California Edison Company (SCE), has long sought to recover costs associated with prematurely closing San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station from customers, the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA) California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) said.

Tuesday, the ORA reached a settlement with SDG&E and SCE to remove the remaining costs from ratepayers' bills.

"This deal saves SCE and SDG&E customers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next several years," Elizabeth Echols, director of ORA, said. "ORA and others worked hard to put together a strong case and succeeded. Now customers won’t end up unfairly paying for many of the costs associated with the SONGS premature failure."

SDG&E estimates their customers will save about $160 million as part of the settlement. Under the previously approved plan, customers would have paid those charges through January 2022.

As part of the settlement, SCE will also reimburse SDG&E for their $151 million share of the $775 million in estimated costs.

"This settlement concludes the final chapter of the investigation into the original [San Onofre] settlement and related events," Lee Schavrien, SDG&E’s chief regulatory officer, said.

SCE said they and SDG&E have already refunded customers more than $2 billion associated with the closure.

The CPUC will now need to approve the settlement. The settlement's summary can be read here.

In 2013, SCE closed the power plant over a faulty steam generator, prompting an investigation into the closure and related costs the following year.

A settlement was reached in how costs would be allocated to the utility companies and their customers before allegations against SCE for improper communications surfaced. The investigation was reopened, though no wrongdoing was found against SDG&E, the company said.

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