The company will spend $50 million on 200 DC fast charging stations, $40 million for level 2 charging station infrastructure, and 9$ million on research and development.
Today’s story begins a decade ago, when certain energy companies manipulated California’s electricity market for fun and profit – and, according to a lawsuit by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), overcharged the state’s consumers by a pretty penny. NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) later acquired one of the culpable companies, along with the lawsuit, which was finally settled in March. As part of its penance, NRG will pay back $300 million to California utility customers, and invest $100 million in a network of EV charging stations.
On Friday, NRG released the full text of the settlement to the public. Under the agreement, the company will spend $50 million to build 200 DC fast charging stations, $40 million for electrical infrastructure to support 10,000 level 2 charging stations, $5 million for research into EV charging services, and $4 million to develop EV car-sharing programs.
The fast charging stations will be owned by NRG’s subsidiary eVgo, which already operates a charging network in Texas. The stations will be compatible with the CHAdeMO charging standard, and will add equipment compatible with the new SAE standard when it becomes official. They will be located in retail areas near highways around the state’s four largest metro areas. Users will pay with a credit card, and the company envisions getting between seven and 15 bucks for a charge.
The network will also include 10,000 level 2 charging station locations, or “Make Readies,” as the settlement calls them. NRG will install the necessary wiring for these sites, then turn them over to property owners. NRG’s eVgo will have the exclusive right to install charging stations for 18 months, after which the sites will be open to competitors.
This sounds like a pretty good deal for California’s EV industry, and it’s certainly a splendid deal for eVgo, which is guaranteed a hefty chunk of the charging business in the state that will soon be the world’s largest EV market. At least one of the company’s competitors is crying foul. Martin Felli, General Counsel for ECOtality, said, “we are extremely disappointed that our call for transparency and industry input has been disregarded. The NRG settlement is a bad deal for California ratepayers. We are currently exploring all legal and legislative options.”