- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) turned back a proposal from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to spend $654 million to build 25,000 level two Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations and 100 DC fast charging stations in its northern and central California service territory.
- Concerned about unfair competition between the regulated utility and private sector providers of EV chargers, the commission said it will hold hearings on the plan to consider it further, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
- Consumer advocates expressed concern that PG&E’s plan to rate base the program would unfairly impose costs on non-EV customers. Ratepayers would see no bill impact in 2016 and 2017, the utility reported, and costs would reach only $0.001 per kWh over the next five years, adding an estimated $0.70 per month to the typical residential customer’s bill from 2018 to 2022.
While PG&E won't be able to move forward yet with its plan for over 25,000 EV chargers, the commission did give it the green light to deploy a fraction of that total — 2,510 in the first two years of the program.
Both of California’s other major investor-owned utilities have proposals to build EV charging infrastructure pending before the commission.
The San Diego Gas & Electric $103 million electric vehicle-grid integration (VGI) plan was designed to test customer response to variable rates for vehicle charging. It would build 5,500 charging stations between 2015 and 2025. The capital cost would be approximately $59 million and operations and maintenance would add $44 million over ten years.
The Southern California Edison $355 million Charge Ready Programs would run from 2015 through 2019 and result in a rate increase of $0.001 per kWh, or 0.1% to 0.3% of the average bill. Phase 1, a one-year pilot, would cost $22 million and deploy up to 1,500 charging stations. Phase 2 would cost an additional $333 million and deploy up to 30,000 charging stations by 2020. SCE would locate, design, build, own, and maintain the infrastructure. Customers would own, operate, and maintain the charging stations.
Electric vehicles offer utilities a litany of new opportunities if they are widely adopted by consumers. Besides rate-basing the charging infrastructure itself, many industry watchers expect electricity demand to double or more as the transportation sector is electrified. Power companies can also use fleets of electric cars connected to the grid to provide demand management and peak shaving functions, smooth the integration of renewables, and send price signals to the customer.