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:
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."
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.