It's (almost) official: SoCal Edison won't be able to stick consumers with the estimated $1.4 billion price tag to clean-up and dismantle its shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, or SONGS.
According to the terms of a settlement announced yesterday, the power company will be on the hook for $1.2 billion of that cash, with San Diego Gas & Electric, which owns 20 percent of the facility, paying $286 million. Fee-paying customers of the power companies will however be charged with the cost of replacing the power since the plant was shut down in January 2012, after problems were discovered with faulty replacement steam generators.
"This proposed settlement means that customers don't pay for the steam generator project after the tube leak at San Onofre, leaving SCE financially responsible for its ownership share in the project,'' Edison President Ron Litzinger stated in a press release issued yesterday. "Our customers will pay for replacement power they received. The settlement, if approved by state regulators, provides certainty regarding the appropriate cost recovery for the remaining investment in the San Onofre nuclear plant, replacement power costs and authorized revenues.''
The two power companies negotiated the settlement with a pair of public interest groups, The Utility Reform Network and California's Office of Ratepayer Advocates, although as Litzinger says, it still needs approval from the state Public Utilities Commission. For their part, the utilities hope to at least partially offset the whopping cleanup costs by "vigorously" pursuing their lawsuit against Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the faulty replacement steam generators that led to the plant's closure. However, as the Weekly previously reported, paperwork that has already surfaced in relation to that dispute suggests that the SoCal Edison was well-aware of the problems Mitsubishi was facing in successfully engineering the massive equipment.