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State not getting a charge out of agreement stemming from energy crisis: Opinion

A New Jersey company that gouged California customers during the state’s electricity crisis a decade ago is falling way behind on the settlement under which it was supposed to make amends.

And the state regulators who made the deal don’t appear concerned about the company’s shortfall in making it up to consumers.

That’s troubling. The California Public Utility Commission’s cavalier attitude toward the terms of the unusual settlement does not do justice to the harm electricity users suffered during California’s power deregulation debacle — which, as you might recall, had a lot to do with then-Gov. Gray Davis’ ouster via recall.

California filed a legal claim against NRG Energy Inc., which sold the state electricity at inflated prices. The company and the state reached an unusual legal settlement under which NRG has to build an extensive network of electric car chargers up and down the state. But Associated Press reported that just 110 of the 1,040 stations that NRG committed to installing by early December are ready.

The PUC touted the settlement with NRG as the key to jump-starting enthusiasm for electric vehicles. If car buyers knew there were plenty of public places to recharge vehicles, they’d be more likely to buy an electric car because they wouldn’t worry about having the battery die en route, And the more electric cars on the road, the better for air quality.


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