By SDCN Staff
San Francisco, CA–The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Thursday advanced the state’s deep decarbonization and ambitious transportation electrification goals by approving two decisions that contribute to California’s historic push to transform the transportation sector to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).
Transportation is responsible for more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions of the state. The California Air Resources Board has adopted a variety of mandates requiring new vehicles sold in California to be zero-emissions, including fleets of buses, medium, and heavy-duty trucks, and off-road vehicles. Having enough electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in place as quickly as possible is crucial to achieving widespread transportation electrification.
To that end, the CPUC today authorized Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to fund the installation of approximately 2,822 light-duty Level 2 chargers and Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC) at multi-family housing, workplace, and public destination sites, which typically face the biggest barriers to EV charging and transportation electrification. Level 2 chargers have enough power to provide about 25 miles of range per hour of charging while a DCFC can fully recharge an average EV in a half hour. Phase 1 of this program will run from 2023 through 2025, at a funding level of $52.2 million. PG&E must spend at least 65 percent of the budget on underserved communities.
Separately, the CPUC today also established a 125-day timeline that utilities must meet, on average, to connect customers with EV infrastructure to the grid, referred to as energizing new EV electric load. The timeline includes 25 days that EV charging typically needs to obtain local permits. The decision also outlines steps the utilities must take to make the energization process more understandable and transparent for customers. The CPUC requires utilities to gather data necessary for regulators and the public to better understand any bottlenecks or parts of the process that are slowing down energization.
California is the leader in electric cars with more than 1.3 million EVs sold in the state, comprising nearly half of the nationwide EV sales. More than 16 percent of passenger cars now being sold in California are electric. Governor Gavin Newsom has advanced a historic $10 billion zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) package to accelerate this transition and make ZEVs more affordable and convenient for all Californians. To support the rapidly growing number of EVs, the CPUC has authorized utilities to spend more than $1.8 billion on EV charging. These funds are primarily dedicated to supporting electrical equipment such as distribution lines, and the costs of installation. The CPUC has also directed utilities to create a menu of rates for EV charging, making fueling EVs significantly cheaper than using gasoline or diesel.
Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, who leads the CPUC’s transportation electrification proceedings, noted, “Today’s energization decision takes big steps to speed up the process of connecting new EV chargers to the electric grid and to make sure utilities provide customers information about how that process works.”
The PG&E EV proposal voted on is available at docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M499/K928/499928824.PDF and documents related to the proceeding are available at apps.cpuc.ca.gov/p/A2110010.
The EV service energization timeline proposal voted on is available at docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M499/K892/499892084.PDF. The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services.