eVgo charging station with fast charger

California's electric car charging deal with NRG clouded with controversy

The $100 million to be invested by NRG in building the eVgo electric car charging network in California will dramatically expand electric car charging access, but some advocates are raising red flags.

Three weeks ago California Gov. Jerry Brown and NRG announced a deal that both settled one of the legal cases arising from the California energy crisis a decade ago, and also started a huge step toward building the electric car charging infrastructure that California needs to meet the states environmental goals. The deal was glowingly positioned by the Governors office as a $120 million settlement paid by NRG, in return for which California will get an EV charging network. However and not all are happy with the deal and are making their concerns heard. NRG has answered most of the concerns and is reaching out to advocacy groups to satisfy the red flags.

The deal is worth $120 million, and settles the lawsuit filed by California against an NRG subsidiary that was one of the companies involved in illegal manipulation of California's energy markets a bit over 10 years ago. The money is split into two parts, a $20 million payment to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and $100 million that's going to build an electric car charging network over the next four years.

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Comments

The $100 m "investment" is a transfer of a liability to the California ratepayers to a major protected control position, an investment for NRG which will thwart competition for over 5 years. If all companies could convert debt to new businesses lit would be kaos. Competitors investments have to come from their own equity, not from a fractional settlement of a $940 m claim for price fixing with the likes of Enron in the California energy crisis. And now tthese same bad actors are ceded a major protected investment position in an electricity providing sector. The CPUC is relying on this group to use "their best business judgement" in deploying, operating ang owning the "investment". Wow. No public insight, no public hearing, no industry or ratepayers debate, just awarding ratepayers fund to An already proven bad actor in the California energy world. Deja vu? The conclusion of this article is half baked. It is a monopoly play using ratepayers money now confiscated as an NRG asset. The 10,000 make ready residential and office site require a 3-5 year subscription, under the EVGo model ranging between $49 - $89 per month. None of the other providers require such fees to use the equipment. No other EVSE can use the make ready sites for 18 months of install. Finally, the reporter, David Herron, obviously spoke with NRG at length but failed to contact any of the competitors, yet refer to them as sour grapes. Note: NRG has less than 20 stations only in Texas. Ecotality and Coulomb, both California based companies have over 6000 installations nationwide.

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