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Ratepayers Should Help Pay for Closure of Nuclear Plant, Says Utility

San OnofreSouthern California Edison published full-page letters/advertisements in the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register this week to argue that ratepayers should help pay for the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant.

The utility decided to permanently retire the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station earlier this summer. The facility had already been closed for more than a year because of a small radioactive leak.

“If a utility asset must be retired before the end of its expected life, the utility recovers from customers its reasonable investment costs,” wrote Southern California Edison in the LA Times. The utility supplies electricity for 4.9 million customers.

Estimates vary for decommissioning the plant, but Edison says it will cost about $4.1 billion. The utility is trying to recover some costs from its insurers as well as from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, whose equipment caused the radioactive leak. In the meantime, the company is making its case that ratepayers should chip in.

Edison has a decommissioning trust fund of about $2.7 billion in ratepayer money, and two minority partners, San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside electric utility, have another $927 million, according to the LA Times.

The California Public Utilities Commission will have the final say as to how the costs are allocated.

Photo credit: Timothy Tolle’s Flickr Photostream

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