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Energy Regulators Authorize PG&E To Charge Electric Vehicles

rudisillart / Flickr
 

rudisillart / Flickr

All three of California’s largest power companies are entering the business of building charging stations for electric vehicles.

The state Public Utilities Commission approved a program for PG&E in Northern California Thursday.

Commissioner Carla Peterman noted the project is significantly smaller than PG&E’s original proposal to build more than 25,000 stations for more than half a billion dollars.

"I believe the proposed decision strikes a better balance between ratepayer benefits and anticompetitive behavior than what was proposed by the utility," Peterman said.

The company will help build 7,500 electric vehicle charging stations at businesses and apartment buildings. It will bill ratepayers the $130 million project cost.

Companies already in the electric vehicle charging business, which do not have the ability to bill ratepayers for their costs, have worried utilities could push them out. As a compromise, commissioners limited the number of the charging stations PG&E can own to no more than a third, all located in either disadvantaged communities or multi-family dwellings, where the existing industry has avoided building.

The project is still larger than pilot programs the commission approved for Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.

State lawmakers have encouraged utilities to help build the infrastructure necessary to support a million vehicles on the road by 2020, and 1.5 million by 2025.