A California appellate court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for its legal settlement earlier this year granting energy utility NRG more than $102.5 million to install electric vehicle charging networks in the state. Ecotality, an electric vehicle supply equipment company, had filed suit in May challenging CPUC for settling with NRG and its subsidiary Dynergy for its part in the 2000-2001 energy scandal. California went after Dynergy for doing something similar to the infamous and now defunct Enron – dramatically overcharging Californians for electricity. A background article on all this is available here.
Ecotality's suit called into question the legal reasoning behind CPUC's decision to hold Dynergy accountable for overcharging consumers by taking away competitive and fair opportunities from other EVSE suppliers. Ecotality filed suit to stop the state from allowing out-of-state utility NRG to install its eVgo charger network and create a monopoly. The CPUC settlement allows NRG to install 200 480-volt fast chargers, wire 1,000 locations to be EV ready and set up the groundwork for up to 10,000 Level 2 charging stations. Most of the fast chargers will be set up between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Under the NRG charging network, charging stations will be set up on a pay-as-you-go basis for the first five years. For fast chargers, users will be billed a cap of $10 to charge during off-peak hours and $15 for on-peak hours. Elsewhere, NRG has been able to charge users a monthly subscription fee, like eVgo is doing in Texas.
California doesn't have many fast chargers in place right now, and EV advocates have been clamoring for more installations of DC fast and Level 2 public chargers. Despite the dismissal, Ecotality won't be leaving the state over it. "While we are disappointed and disagree with the outcome of this case, we continue to see great opportunity for Ecotality and the whole of the electric vehicle industry in California," the company said in a statement.