Refunds proposed for utility customers due to San Onofre nuclear plant closure

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Customers of Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric customers are expected to get refunds as a result of the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. 

In a statement, the California Public Utilities Commission said a proposed decision issued Tuesday by administrative law judges orders refunds for the customers "as a result of reduced operating costs in 2012 following the [...] steam generator tube leak at San Onofre on January 31, 2012, and an immediate halt to generation."

The CPUC said the proposed decision orders refunds of approximately $94 million -- $74.2 million for Edison customers and $19.3 million for SDG&E customers. The amount represents a portion of the costs incurred by the utilities in 2012 that the CPUC found were neither reasonable nor necessary.

"The proposed decision [...] is the first in a series that evaluates costs to ensure customers don’t pay for both the power plant that was shut down and the power that had to be purchased to replace it," said Commissioner Mike Florio in the statement. He is leading CPUC San Onofre investigation. "The CPUC is considering hundreds of millions of dollars in additional refunds to customers resulting from replacement power costs, steam generator replacement costs, and removing San Onofre from rate base.”

The proposed decision orders the utilities to make the refunds by reducing the rates that consumers would otherwise pay, starting January 1, 2014.

"The proposed decision determines that Edison’s continuing to spend money on a restart plan for San Onofre after May 2012 was the result of an unsound decision-making process, primarily because Edison did not consider alternatives or rate impact, or realistically assess the regulatory hurdles blocking a reasonably foreseeable restart," according to the CPUC statement.

The commission is expected to vote on the refund plan at its Dec. 19 meeting. 

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