Business & Economy

California utility gets $400M settlement tied to closed nuclear plant

Under a settlement reached with Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, Southern California Edison, majority owner of the defunct San Onofre nuclear plant, will receive $313 million, it was announced Thursday. Minority owners would get smaller slices: San Diego Gas & Electric gets $80 million and the city of Riverside, $7 million.
Under a settlement reached with Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, Southern California Edison, majority owner of the defunct San Onofre nuclear plant, will receive $313 million, it was announced Thursday. Minority owners would get smaller slices: San Diego Gas & Electric gets $80 million and the city of Riverside, $7 million.
Grant Slater/KPCC

The operator of the defunct San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California announced Thursday that it reached a $400 million insurance settlement covering power outages caused by failed equipment, most of which will go to customers.

The deal between Southern California Edison and Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited comes more than two years after the plant between San Diego and Los Angeles was closed for good.

Under the settlement, majority owner Edison will receive $313 million. Minority owners would get smaller slices: San Diego Gas & Electric gets $80 million and the city of Riverside, $7 million.

For typical Edison residential customers, it was expected to result in about a 2 percent to 2.5 percent cut in monthly bills beginning next year.

San Onofre was shut down in January 2012 after a small radiation leak led to the discovery of extensive damage to tubing inside virtually new steam generators.

The plant never produced electricity again. Edison closed San Onofre permanently in June 2013 amid a fight with environmentalists over whether the plant could be restarted safely.

Meanwhile, consumer advocates have called on state regulators to reopen a nearly $5 billion settlement that divided costs tied to the shuttered plant, under which the owners would pay $1.4 billion and consumers would pay $3.3 billion. Edison opposes reopening that agreement.

Edison is also locked in a long-running dispute over possible damages with the company that manufactured the flawed generators, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Earlier this year Mitsubishi disclosed that Edison had nearly doubled its damage claim to $7.57 billion in a proceeding before the International Chamber of Commerce. Mitsubishi says its liability is limited to $137 million by contract.