San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)  

On October 25, 2012 the CPUC opened an investigation into the causes and accountability for the outages at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).  The decision sets a preliminary schedule that allows 18 months for the resolution of the investigation. SONGS is a nuclear power plant owned (78.21%) and operated by Southern California Edison (Edison) serving customers in the greater Los Angeles area including Inyo, Kern, Kings, Mono, Orange, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties.  It is co-owned with SDG&E (20%) and the City of Riverside (1.79%). On January 9, 2012, Unit 2 of SONGS was shut down for scheduled maintenance.  On January 31, 2012, Edison also shut down SONGS Unit 3 due to a steam generator tube leak. It is currently uncertain when SONGS may come back online.  Ratepayers continue to pay for the power plant even though it has not been in operation and serving customers since January. On October 4, Edison submitted a proposal to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to restart SONGS Unit 2 at 70% power for five months, and then shut it down again for further inspections. Edison has offered no plan for the restart of SONGS Unit 3.  The NRC has indicated that it expects to have a proposed decision on whether Unit 2 can be restarted as proposed by Edison in March or April 2013. An NRC public meeting was held in Dana Point on November 16, 2012 to discuss Edison’s plan to restart the SONGS Unit 2 reactor, with a follow-up meeting held in Maryland on December 18, 2012.  

On January 28, 2013, the CPUC issued a Scoping Ruling, which consolidates several related SONGS proceedings and sets the scope for this proceeding across four phases.  On March 27, 2014, ORA entered into a Settlement Agreement with Edison, SDG&E and TURN.

Settlement Agreement

In April 2014, ORA, Edison, SDG&E, and TURN, filed a comprehensive Settlement agreementwhich with the CPUC that would prevent the utilities from recovering the cost of the SONGS defective replacement steam generators from ratepayers. The estimated benefit to ratepayers on a present value basis, compared with the utilities’ $4.7 billion original request, is $1.12 billion for Edison customers and $286 million for SDG&E customers.

Phase 1

Nature and effects of the steam generator failures in order to assess the reasonableness of utility actions and expenses, and whether customer refunds are required. Phase 1 commenced on October 25, 2012, and is ongoing.

Phase 2

Adjustments to Edison’s rate base and revenue requirement. Phase 2 commenced on July 1, 2013, and is ongoing.

Phase 3

Causes of damage, allocation of responsibility, reasonableness of repair actions.

Phase 4

Adjustment to Edison’s 2013 revenue requirement.

 

On July 18, 2013, Edison served a formal Notice of Dispute on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which seeks to hold Mitsubishi accountable for design and manufacture defects in the SONGS' Replacement Steam Generators.  

   

Resources

See the proceeding docket.

See DRA's August 13, 2012 letter to CPUC commissioners urging them to remove SONGS from rate base until it comes back online.

See DRA’s August 1, 2012 joint stakeholder letter to CPUC commissioners urging them to open an investigation into the SONGS outage. DRA co-signed this letter with TURN, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, Friends of the Earth, and the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility.

Edison Filings and Testimony.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission SONGS webpage.