A strange deal is in the works in California. Between 2000 and 2001, utility companies in California overcharged nearly $9 billion, withheld energy, dove up rates and caused rolling blackouts, California officials claim. The utility company will get away with a $120 million slap on the wrist. What’s more, the money will be invested into selling more electric power.
NRG Energy Inc. agreed to pay a $120 million settlement that will fund electric car charging stations across California, Associated Press reports. The money will be used to build at least 200 public fast-charging stations, and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles basin and San Diego County, Gov. Jerry Brown said yesterday.
Use of the fast-charging stations will not be free. Consumers will be able to pay for monthly subscriptions or pay as they go. The price of the monthly subscriptions has not yet been set. The pay-as-you-go price will be between $10 and $15 per use, an NRG spokesman said. Overcharging customers seems to be alive and well.
Only $20 million will go toward reducing rates for utility customers, says the San Francisco Chronicle.
Nissan likes the agreement, what with 40 percent of the 11,000 Leafs sold in the U.S. having California tags. John O’Dell, senior green car editor at Edmunds.com, is one of the California Leaf owners, but he doesn’t get around much. “I liken the home charger to kind of a tether,” O’Dell. “Without public charging, I’ve basically got a 35-mile leash on my car.”