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Ratepayers could be due rebates from San Onofre closure

Ratepayers could be due rebates from San Onofre closure
An upcoming legal settlement could mean substantial ratepayer refunds from the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- Ratepayers of Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. could be in line for more than $1 billion in refunds as part of a possible financial settlement from the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant.

Both Edison and another party to the negotiations, the Utility Reform Network (TURN), a consumer advocacy group, confirmed that a settlement conference is scheduled next Thursday at the San Francisco headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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The 2,200-megawatt San Onofre plant, near San Clemente in San Diego County, was shut down in January 2012 when newly installed steam generators leaked a small amount of radioactivity. Edison, the plant's majority owner, decided to permanently close and decommission the generating station in June 2013.

Since then, TURN has argued for customer refunds to compensate for rate increases related to the failed repowering of the now-defunct power plant as well as the cost of buying replacement energy to power homes and businesses in southern Orange County and San Diego County.

The utilties commission, TURN argued in a press release, "must protect ratepayers from paying for the costs of a plant that stopped producing power in 2012."

Although terms of the proposed legal-financial settlement remain confidential until after next week's conference, Edison in previous statements has indicated that customer refunds could top $1 billion.

In a June 7 conference call, Theodore F. Craver, chief executive of the utility's parent company, Edison International, said that potential refunds could be "roughly $1.3 billion."

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