Sustainable Transport Club
The NRG Lawsuit, A 100 million dollar concern for the success of Electric Vehicles
The NRG lawsuit settlement with the state of California will put 100 million dollars in play in the next few years. That money can solve our EV public charging needs or it can compromise the development and put a fortune 300 company in control of public charging.
The details of the settlement are discussed in some detail in the Jun/Jul 2012 issue of Charged Electric Vehicle Magazine (chargedev.com). They explain that $50.5 million dollars is going to be used to create 200 public charging locations with a DC-DC fast charger and at least one level 2 charging station through NRG’s company eVgo. Another $40 million will be spent on putting in wiring for 10,000 additional level 2 chargers under the label of Make Ready locations. The rest will go for miscellaneous items.
It is a concern that a lawsuit is being settled by helping NRG establish dominance in yet another energy sector. The lawsuit is based on their subsidiaries using their market dominance to overcharge utilities and consumers over $900 million dollars for electricity.
Does it make sense to settle by giving them the chance to dominate EV charging in California?
The settlement is advancing so that may be a mute question in the overall. It is pretty much a done deal that the 200 charging locations will be theirs at this point. The other 10,000 chargers are the places that are still up for grabs and can be moved into a more positive conclusion.
Here are some of the details about those potential charger locations:
* The agreement is to put in the wiring for the charger and have property owners take possession of that wiring.
* The settlement requires they be in at least 1,000 locations.
* The wiring is to be installed so that it supports level 2 charging.
* The wiring can be installed in multifamily, work place charging sites and other locations like shopping malls.
* It gives eVgo an exclusive option to negotiate with the property owner for putting in the level 2 chargers.
The worst case scenario is that all 1,000 locations will end up under the control of a company tied to consumer overcharging. That would give NRG control over 1200 charging locations as the “price” they are paying for past skull doggery!
The main thing that can be done to mitigate that outcome is to get as many of those wiring installs to end up with other chargers attached to them. But what can be done to help get that to happen?
The main thing that will let us avoid the worst case is that the settlement is not binding on any other company or person involved. It does not keep other companies from installing chargers on the wiring or limit them to any time frame. It does not require the property owners to be limited by the time frame or to use the eVgo chargers. These things would only happen if the people involved sign a contract that ties them to these conditions.
The tactics that can be used by the company include:
* Writing contracts that require the installation site to use eVgo chargers.
* Writing contracts that require the owners to wait 18 months before installing other chargers.
* Avoiding using sites that are not interested in contractual terms that give them the charging sites.
It remains to be seen if these practices will be forbidden in the agreement. Even if they are forbidden it would be good to monitor and make sure these locations are given the freedom to do right by the EV community. If they are not banned then someone will need to take action to give your community the freedom of choice we need in your charging system.
This is a good example of why the next article is relevant.
This article was written by Russell Sydney.
Sustainable Transport Club, 268 W Santa Barbara St, Santa Paula, CA 93060
Copyright Speakers Press August 2012. All rights reserved.
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