The lawsuit settlement we reported on a few weeks ago – the one that was supposed to result in a $100 million commitment to build up plug-in vehicle infrastructure in California – is coming under fire.

The short back story (you can find all the details here. It involves the whole Enron mess from a decade ago) is that NRG Energy, through purchasing Dynegy, a company with liabilities, settled for $120 million with the State of California to pay $20 million to the state and the California Public Utilities Commission for rate relief as well as spend $50 million to install NRG's Freedom Stations and $50 million on NRG's "make ready" program. Now, a competing electric vehicle charging station company based in San Francisco, Ecotality, has filed a lawsuit that says the settlement is illegal and hurts consumers, according to the Mercury News. The problem is that the settlement will cause NRG to "become the default provider of charging stations throughout the state" by being "punished" to invest in building out its own products, the News writes. The lawsuit says:

Such 'punishment' is equivalent to a motorist settling his speeding citation by simply being required to buy a faster car, subsidized by the public. ... The agreement, purportedly entered into to settle claims by the PUC on behalf of the California ratepayers for price gouging during the California energy crisis, transfers monies that should be refunded to California ratepayers to NRG, the entity now in ownership and control of the Dynegy wrongdoers.

NRG responded to the lawsuit by telling the News that, "While we were not provided with a copy of the filing, NRG Energy is making a private investment in California that will build an EV infrastructure that will encourage EV adoption in the state and help grow an industry to the benefit of the state of California, the people of California and all the companies supporting EV infrastructure."


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  • 33 Comments
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      I understand the resentment, but the outcome is positive: We'll have a better EV infrastructure.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        "...I highly doubt they'll pour $120 million into an EV infrastructure and not (key word) **exploit it**. They're basically forced to enter the charging market in a big way." That's the point. These guys are being "punished" by being allowed to develop a charging infrastructure, at the expense of fair competition among other companies that did nothing wrong. They will get the benefit of each charger bearing their name, advertising their company. Business-wise, getting a contract like this as "punishment" means they will have to ramp up production, so they will get better prices from their parts suppliers. IMHO, they should pay their settlement in cash, and then CA should bid out the development of EV infrastructure to be paid for with those funds. Same net result (infrastructure gets built), but the good guys get to build it at the expense of the bad guys - instead of vice-versa as it currently is arranged.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        That's not necessarily true. We'll have an EV infrastructure owned by the guys who screwed CA over in the first place. This is like letting the foxes rebuild the henhouse as repayment for killing your chickens.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I love the analogies ☻
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Sure is, but I highly doubt they'll pour $120 million into an EV infrastructure and not use it / maintain it / exploit it. They're basically forced to enter the charging market in a big way.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Again a mess with bev technology, another castastrophy. After we learn that fast-charging is not recommended by battery makers impeding any travelling beyong the max range per day. Then there will not be these level one and level two charger dues to a lack of financing but also because of an incompatibility in plug standards. Also you don't need level 1 or 2 charger when you go out because it take 4 hours or more to recharge, so these chargers won't be utilized. If you go into a store or pharmacy it take half an hour to do so and few electricity go into the battery. If you travel far then you cannot wait 4 hours or more doing nothing before continuing your trip. Actually many bevs have been sold and absolutly nobody is charging them outside their homes. Why ? It's because it work just in theory and it don't apply to reality.
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        I'll agree with you partially. I don't think having a variety of plug-in stations are going to help, except in situations where you are really low on electrons. They need to focus on installing these at the beach, at the mall, at national parks, at ski resorts, golf courses, and rest areas on the highway. But have quite a few, with empty spaces next to the chargers so other EV drivers can tell somehow that the first car is full and it is ok to switch to charging their car if they aren't there. The charger should be smart enough to know when it is ok to disconnect the first car, and if it is ok to start charging the second car. If the first car isn't fully charged, the second car will have to wait and the charger shouldn't allow the second car to get any power until the first car owners come back and tell the charger they are done. They should be tied into the cell phone apps so you can tell where a charger is, and if someone is using it. Maybe even reserve it.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          @Rotation True, but I don't think many people will be taking 75 mile range BEVs on road trips anyway. The Leaf is only a 1st generation car. And any trips that will 'depend' on fast charging are likely to be publicity stunts.. either to prove it can be done, or to prove that EVs are inferior.
          goodoldgorr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          It's impossible to do due to a lack of demand. Also many bev have a basic charger already included in the car and each and all of these chargers are different and impede another outside charger to be used because there is incompatible plug due to different battery technology and many bev are already sold unfortunatelly without standardized charger because nissan and also others do not recommend fast charging so they didn't do a fast charge plug. All fast charge that have been experimented have been ended eternally because it hurt badly the battery that amount to 10 000$ to 25 000$ each with short live if it become empty or too much charged. That's why many portable computer battery last less then a year and you have to replace it often, it's not a devise that you should use regularly but just in case you don't have access to 110 volts. Small battery camera have replacable battery that cost 15$ to 30$, so they can be replaced easilly but your bev cannot change the battery once brick like tesla because they don't build these batteries anymore because they know that it was just a bad joke sponsored by big oil and banks.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          There needs to be rules that all EV drivers can agree with, and they need to figure out the standard plug thing fast.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          You have to be able to reserve one. And somehow block the parking spot so it can't be taken. Few will travel further than the range their battery provides without a guarantee they can fill up at the far end of the trip. People don't do it with gas cars, they won't with BEVs. So either that means DC fast charging and a near 100% chance they'll be able to find the hour it takes to fill up or else it means regular speed charging and a guarantee of a 5 hour slot overnight or perhaps while they are on the ski hill (in the ski resort case). And also importantly, you shouldn't have to go to 5 maps/services to find a charger. It's okay for there to 5 services, but they should intercommunicate. I can go to one place to book an airline flight without having to try each airline one by one, the same should be true for chargers.
        goodoldgorr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Also bev manufacturers and charger manufacturers don't offer a standardized interface that show instantly the state of charge of the battery so you can undercharge the battery and you can overcharge it and that is damaging the battery and cost more in electricity. All rechargeable battery are different size and composition and are always sold with an adaptable charger. The leaf, tesla and volt are sold with a simple, low cost 110 volt charger that take 8 hours or more to complete a recharge. If you plug another charger then you certainly hurt the battery and did you notice that all these bev manufacturers have said to use only their charger at night in your home.
          goodoldgorr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @goodoldgorr
          There is few people willing to stop 5 times a day and wait 30 mins each time to refuel while with a gasoline car you stop only 1 time max for 5 minutes. Also with fast charge the electricity is sold at high price and it end-up costing more then gasoline . So 5 stop a day for 2.5 hours not counting the added mileage to find these charger amount to just some leftist or rightist doing so for political reasons that absolutly nobody will ever do the same. I Said to begin hydrogen fuelcell car commercialisation right away.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm glad that Ecotality is suing. This deal with NRG just stinks. They are "punished" by being forced to build EV chargers which they will be able to receive all the money from. If they built chargers and the money went back to the state (or was free) then I would be on board. I agree that this deal does not seem very good for consumers. The stations should be owned by the state.. not by NRG! What kind of punishment is that??
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      The latest push by Nissan means that Holland should be pretty well wired up for fast charging soon: 'The Nissan Quick Chargers are capable of recharging a typical electric car to 80% capacity within about 30 minutes. CHAdeMO is a play on the Japanese ‘O cha demo ikaga desuka’, meaning ‘How about some tea?’ – the idea being that it takes the same time to charge the cars as it does to have a cup of tea. With the installation of forty chargers in Holland, Nissan says that the vast majority of electric car drivers in the country will be no more than 20 miles away from a charger. With the average range of a modern electric car around the 100-mile mark (in ideal conditions) and Holland being legendary for its near-comical absence of hills, the country could become a mecca for EV users.' http://www.thechargingpoint.com/news/Dutch-electric-car-drivers-will-never-be-stranded.html Way to go, Nissan and Holland!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Driving an electric car while using the eVgo network is the equivalent cost of driving a 15-25 mpg car paying $5 per gallon. Paying 10-15 $US per quick charging session which can carry you about 50 miles where you have to stop for half an hour to cover the next 50 doesn't seem as appealing at this price. Costs would drop over time on their monthly subscription plans for long distance commuters where on a yearly plan you'd have unlimited use of the charging stations for $1.30 a day. Do these seem like reasonable prices? prices taken from https://www.evgonetwork.com/charging-plans-form/ for Texan EV drivers
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Their business is being stolen by someone who is being 'punished'. That is a bit odd. But if the deal gets tax-payers more in value than they would have got in a cash settlement then you can't fault the state for taking an option that gets them more value.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Only posting on a Sebastian article since it is the only here today (for the moment at least), but wanted to wish any and all veterans a happy a Memorial Day, and thank you for your service. My years in the military were in peace time, and I had a relatively easy job, so this is a day I like to celebrate the real heros, and those family members that watched them get onto buses and planes, waving flags, giving kisses,mshaking hands, and wishing them their best. In many ways it was probably tougher on the families, than those that served. They shall grow not old They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them. Thank you, and God bless you all! :)
      upstategreenie
      • 2 Years Ago
      is this photoshopped? do other cities actually have EV infrastructure like this? I guess since US is so big, some places like this right wing area still look like 1850s and have no solar panels, no EV infrastructure. it is like another backwards world. I hope that rest keeps progressing and doesnt make a really really dumb mistake based on superPAC lies and go backwards again. we HAVE to keep progressing. there is no other way.
        LiteNRG1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @upstategreenie
        Houston, TX has several charging stations like this. Here is the link: https://www.evgonetwork.com/eVgo_Charging_Stations/
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @upstategreenie
        The photo info says it's installed in Dallas, TX.
      noevfud
      • 2 Years Ago
      What manufacturers have not recommended fast charging? Where do you get this form. Nissan recommends no more than I believe five a day but seriously 3-4 a day?
      Tysto
      • 2 Years Ago
      Meh. It's more like a fence-builder being required to build a fence as restitution and another fence-builder complaining that they should be forced to pay in dollars so the job could be bid out. It all depends on the details of the state's laws about getting work done. Unless there's some proprietary connections—which there certainly shouldn't be—there should be plenty of opportunity for Ecotality later. This pie is only going to get bigger.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks like they will be prosecuted for folk with broken necks that trip over that charging cable in the photo. Why was it not fed out from the other side? Can't see those batteries lasting very long in the Californian heat. No more long drives down through Death Valley to Las Vegas for me anymore.
      noevfud
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not to mention I have done several in a day with very little temp rise in a LEAF which is the reason for not doing multiples in a day. In fact I drive my LEAF in CA on the freeway with several charges in a day and my pack never gets above 70. All sealed up with no fans and no water cooling, as so many insisted it needed.
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