Next month the California Public Utility Commission will consider the first of what will likely be multiple customer refunds related to the closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant. A proposal released Tuesday would order Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric to credit $94 million to ratepayers while state authorities continue to investigate the premature wear of steam generators installed at San Onofre. The proposed refund addresses money collected for San Onofre operations in 2012, a year in which the plant produced no electricity after Jan. 31. When the effects of insurance and warrantee claims become clearer, an additional phase of the PUC's review will address ratepayers' share of $122.6 million in operations and maintenance costs related to the steam generators. The proposal acknowledged that SCE tried to mitigate its costs at San Onofre, "However, we find SCE to be single-minded about its restart plan, and slow to understand the technical challenges and regulatory timeframe required to implement it. SCE’s decision to apply resources to a restart plan was the result of an unsound decision-making process, primarily because SCE did not consider cost effectiveness or alternatives such as putting unit 2 into preservation mode, or realistically assess the regulatory hurdles blocking a reasonably foreseeable restart."
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