Edison files opposition to reopening San Onofre settlement

San Onofre nuclear power plant

Surfers wade in front of the closed San Onofre nuclear power plant. Southern California Edison, one of the two utilities that owns the plant, wants state regulators to keep a settlement agreement in place that leaves customers on the hook for $3.3 billion of the $4.7-billion cost to close the facility.

(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Southern California Edison asked state regulators Thursday to reject calls to reopen the settlement agreement over the closed San Onofre nuclear power plant.

In a 52-page filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, Edison argued that reopening the settlement would cause “serious harm to the public.”

The utility said reconsidering the settlement could jeopardize its lawsuit with the Japanese contractor that developed the faulty steam generators that led to the nuclear plant’s permanent closure. The contractor, Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, stated that Edison is seeking $7.6 billion for loss of the San Onofre plant.

Any money that Edison wins in the case is expected to be split 50-50 with customers.


Last November, the PUC approved a $4.7-billion settlement agreement that held the nuclear plant’s co-owners, Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, responsible for $1.4 billion of the costs and put customers on the hook for $3.3 billion.

The two nuclear units at San Onofre closed permanently in June 2013, a year and a half after Edison initially shut down the defective steam generators. The new $680-million steam generators were found to be defective after one leaked a small amount of radiation.

Edison’s filing Thursday was a response to consumer advocates, including the state Office of Ratepayer Advocates and the Utility Reform Network, which have rescinded their backing of the settlement agreement after findings that former PUC President Michael Peevey engaged in secret talks with Edison about the deal. An administrative law judge determined that the secret talks -- including at a swanky hotel in Warsaw, Poland -- should have been reported.

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“The commission should deny [the Office of Ratepayer Advocates’] petition and should leave [the settlement] in effect, so that the benefits of the settlement can continue to be provided to customers,” Edison stated in its filing.

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