NRG/eVgo free to expand into California following FERC's rejection of ECOtality's intervention
The expansion of the eVgo electric car charging station network into California is now free to proceed, thanks to a ruling announced on Monday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The eVgo expansion into California became reality with a settlement announced last spring concerning lawsuits over long term power contracts during the California Energy Crisis 10+ years ago. In exchange for dropping the lawsuit, NRG has agreed to build a large electric car charging station network, but the proposed settlement met with legal opposition from ECOtality, and the FERC had to approve the settlement.
The settlement between the CPUC and NRG, announced last March, is a $120 million deal in which NRG makes a $20 million payment to the CPUC, and then additionally makes a $100 million investment in bringing eVgo to California by building a network of over 200 fast charging stations, and over 10,000 level 2 charging stations, across California's four major metropolitan areas.
The primary opposition to the settlement was ECOtality, one of the existing electric car charging station network operators. ECOtality filed motions with the CPUC and with the FERC seeking to block the settlement, and in late May filed a lawsuit calling the settlement illegal. The thrust of ECOtality's claims is that the settlement is anti-competitive because it supposedly gives NRG's eVgo a subsidized entry into California's electric car charging market. The CarCharging Group also filed a motion with the FERC making similar claims.