At least $12 million of Duke Energy’s electricity bill is at the center of a lawsuit that alleges the utility used $1.9 million to buy two electric cars at the expense of its customers.
In an affidavit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, the plaintiffs, all customers of Duke, allege that the electric cars, which they purchased in 2018, were not connected to the power grid.
The cars were built by the California-based company and shipped to the U.S. by Tesla Motors, which has been sued by the U,D.C. government over its role in the electric car boom in the state.
The complaint says the electric vehicles did not have a power source, and were not able to be charged.
The affidavit says the cars cost the utility about $12,500 to install and $7,500 for battery replacements.
The complaint says that by the time the electric vehicle was purchased in January 2019, the electric company had already spent $1 million on a second car.
That second car, according to the complaint, was also not connected.
The plaintiffs say that in October 2019, they learned that the second car was in disrepair and that they would not be able to use it.
Duke Energy spokeswoman Amy Tisch said in a statement that the company has “no evidence” of this.
The utility, which is in a financial mess after a $4 billion capital campaign to turn around its finances, has also faced a series of legal and regulatory challenges.
In November, it announced that it would stop selling the cars after being hit with a federal lawsuit over whether it violated a California law that requires customers to be connected to power plants.
The lawsuit, filed by the state’s Public Utilities Commission, alleges that Duke used a state grant program to purchase the electric electric vehicles at a price higher than the price it charged customers.
The lawsuit says Duke also used the state grants to purchase a second electric vehicle.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the PUC said that it has received “multiple subpoenas” from state and federal authorities regarding the vehicles, but that no evidence has been submitted to support those claims.