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FERC approves CPUC settlement agreement with Dynegy/NRG; $100M EV charging infrastructure for California

6 November 2012

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved a settlement agreement that will bring more than $100 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure to California, including at least 200 public fast-charging stations and the infrastructure for 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 diverse locations across the state. (Earlier post.)

The settlement, originally announced on 23 March 2012, by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., resolves 10-year-old claims against subsidiaries of Dynegy Inc., including its power marketer and three power plant subsidiaries, then co-owned with NRG Energy Inc. (now wholly owned by NRG), for costs of long-term power contracts signed in March 2001. Dynegy previously paid $280 million in settlement of claims arising out of Dynegy’s spot market sales during the energy crisis period itself.

NRG will pay to install a minimum of 200 fast charging “Freedom Stations”—110 in the Los Angeles Basin; 55 in the San Francisco Bay Area; 15 in the San Joaquin Valley; and 20 in San Diego County—that will be available for use by anyone with an electric vehicle for a minimum five year period. NRG will install 20% of these stations in low income areas. The first stations will be available in early 2013.

NRG will also install infrastructure for plug-in units, or “make-readies”, at multi-family housing, workplaces, and public interest sites, which will over time support the installation of Level 1 and Level 2 chargers from all charging companies. Further, to meet the CPUC’s goal of ensuring that the electric vehicle charging infrastructure is available to Californians of all income levels, NRG will ensure that mixed-income housing locations are identified, evaluated, and pursued for the make-readies.

Additionally, NRG will pay $20 million in a cash refund to electricity consumers.

Competitors protest. On 17 May 2012, ECOtality, Inc. filed a motion to intervene and protest, Car Charging Group, Inc. (Car Charging Group) filed a motion to intervene and protest; San Diego Gas and Electric Co. (SDG&E) filed a motion to intervene and comments supporting the settlement. Among other things, ECOtality and Car Charging Group asserted that the settlement’s implementation would result in anticompetitive conditions in the California electric vehicle charging market.

After several rounds of filings among the parties, on 9 July, CPUC filed an answer opposing ECOtality’s motion. On 16 October, CPUC filed a motion to lodge a state court order that denied Ecotality’s appeal.

Resources

  • FERC order approving settlement re Public Utilities Commission of the State of California et al v Sellers of Long Term Contracts to the California Department of Water Resources et al under EL02-60 et al.

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