What’s More Nervy Than Stealing $1 Billion?

5 years ago by Marc Lee 2

Asking to use the money to build something, instead of paying it back.

Ecotality is suing NRG to block an NRG agreement with the state of California to install over 10,000 charging stations in lieu of paying back nearly $1Billion to compensate for overcharging utility customers for electricity.

NRG has fired back with a “but look at the revenue and jobs we will create for the state” argument.

Have to agree with Ecotality here, I mean seriously is that the Twilight Zone theme I hear in the background?  If the NRG deal is allowed to stand, look for bank robbers to begin asking that instead of paying back the actual cash that they be allowed to use the money to build banks.

I get that the PUC is accepting a deal to try and bring closure to a suit that has dragged on for a decade, but this deal is a joke.  Under no circumstance should someone be allowed to use ill-gotten proceeds to finance further gain, with the glowing approval of the agency representing the victims.

NRG should pay back the billion it owes, in cash, and let PUC bid out the jobs competitively.

2 responses to "What’s More Nervy Than Stealing $1 Billion?"

  1. Chris says:

    I agree with you completely on this issue Marc. The way I see it there is only one way to punish someone who has stolen $900 million (which NRG has been convicted of):
    – pay back the $900 million (with interest, since it was stolen in 2000)
    – jail time

    Do you know what I find unacceptable as a punishment?
    – anything short of the above

    It is incredible to me how positive this settlement has been greeted. Instead of paying the taxpayers back the money they stole, NRG is using it to fund a for-profit startup company. Outrageous!

  2. jeffhre says:

    Marc, great comments and I agree with you 99.9%. For that last .1% though.

    Though NRG may attempt to use pilfered funds to build out the infrastructure to realize their 21st century business models, I really don’t see bank robbers being that sophisticated. No not at all. After all, this idea is from top notch MBA’s negotiating terms with the government.

    More likely if this survives as a precedent, bank robbers will negotiate to 1) build something on the line of – a franchised series of strip clubs, and 2) receive fast track approvals. That’s of course very different from NRG’s sophisticated proposal.

    I’ve always felt that government agencies were at quite a disadvantage when negotiating forward looking deals with for profits. Perhaps they need a little more help. Clearly if the law enforcement side of the government were negotiating with bank robbers, the results would be different. Perhaps the government should use that expertise. Like getting their own fraud and economic crime investigation units to look over potential agreements before they are finalized. Just a thought. The conclusions may be very interesting.

    Would be ironic if a companies negotiators went into a conference thinking they had an easy deal to take candy from a baby, and walked out in handcuffs.