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Insurance Settlement For San Onofre Shutdown To Help Lower Customer Bills

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County is shown in this undated photo.
Southern California Edison
The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County is shown in this undated photo.

Southern California Edison said today it will receive $400 million after reaching a settlement with an insurance carrier over the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in northern San Diego County.

About 95 percent of the revenue from the agreement with Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited will be applied to lowering customers' bills, according to Pedro Pizarro, president of Edison, which is the plant's operator and majority owner.

"This settlement represents a good outcome that is in the best interests of our customers," Pizarro said. "We expect Southern California Edison customers will begin to see the direct benefit of this settlement in early 2016 through reduced rates."

San Diego Gas & Electric, which owned 20 percent of the plant and received one-fifth of the electricity it generated, will also get 20 percent of the proceeds, or $80 million.

The nuclear plant at San Onofre hasn't operated since the end of January 2012, when a small, non-injury leak occurred in one of the two reactors. The cause of the leak was traced to vibrations in steam generators manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, and investigators determined the company's design process was flawed.

SCE said it's pursuing arbitration claims against MHI and Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems to compensate for the steam generators' failure.

The utility decided in June 2013 to retire the reactors, rather than pursue a costly restart process.

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