- A proposed decision before the California Public Utilities Commission would loosen restrictions on utilities owning electric vehicle charging stations, possibly opening the way for a major expansion of the technology's spread. Greentech Media reports the proposal has broad support in the utility and electric car community.
- The measure, proposed by Commissioner Carla J. Peterman, could be considered at the commission's Dec. 18 meeting and represents a necessary step toward authorizing utility ownership of charging stations
- San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison have proposed investing $500 million in charging infrastructure, while Pacific Gas & Electric has signaled its interest in a similar proposal.
Utilities in California are preparing to spend hundreds of millions on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, but first need regulators to loosen 2011 rules that essentially banned them from owning the stations. A measure before the CPUC is designed to "encourage the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure and the widespread deployment and use of plug-in electric vehicles."
The change would set aside the requirements that a utility must show “market failure” or an “underserved market” as part of any request for authority to own electric vehicle charging infrastructure. As the state adopts increasing numbers of electric vehicles, regulators say utilities will take on a "critical role in the transportation sector as procurers, deliverers and suppliers of transportation fuel — in this case electricity."
According to the proposed decision, the majority of comments received endorsed an expanded role for utility activity in developing and supporting PEV charging infrastructure. But the regulators declined to determine appropriate level of utility activity and instead said the commission "will evaluate utility proposals on a case-specific basis."
SDG&E's proposal will be the CPUC's first chance to consider approving a utility's charging station plans.