Based on the foregoing discussion, we decline to adopt the proposed Settlement primarily because the provision relating to expansion of the reasonableness presumption for decommissioning activities completed within cost estimates is not in the public interest and not reasonable in light of the whole record. However, based on the evidentiary record, we adopt almost all of the other terms of the proposed Settlement which generally accepted the initial cost estimates and decommissioning expenditures submitted by the utilities, with a minor adjustment to PG&E's labor costs.
The contributions were adjusted, as proposed in the Settlement, based on trust fund balances updated to December 31, 2009, and for SCE and SDG&E also adjusted for forecasted higher rates of return on equity. We also adopt the settled upon annual contribution by PG&E of $9 million for the DC trust funds based on evidence supporting that it was within the range of likely outcomes absent the Settlement. We also adopted a plan from the Settlement to initiate an independent panel of decommissioning experts to help the Commission guide the utilities into a more accurate, transparent, and comparable presentation of cost data. The panel will deliver a report to the Commission and parties in March 2010, which makes recommendations that will, hopefully, improve Commission and public review of nuclear decommissioning in California.