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Regulators Approve Scaled Down EV Charging Program for SCE

image credit: Credit: SCE
DW Keefer's picture
Journalist Independent Journalist and Analyst

DW Keefer is a Denver-based energy journalist who writes extensively for national and international publications on all forms of electric power generation, utility regulation, business models...

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  • Aug 31, 2020
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The California Public Utilities Commission in late August approved Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready 2 infrastructure program, one of the largest single-utility electric vehicle charging programs in the nation.

The decision authorizes a budget of $437 million to fund installation of 38,000 charging ports for SCE’s Charge Ready program, which was piloted in 2016 and expanded in 2018. 

The newly funded program prioritizes multi-unit dwellings and communities which, the commission said, face barriers to transportation electrification.

The decision is expected to help meet California’s 2030 goal of 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road and was supported by SCE, environmental organizations, the electric vehicle industry and ratepayer advocates.

The utility said that during the program’s pilot phase, it partnered with businesses, local governments and other organizations to add more than 1,800 EV chargers at more than 100 sites.

The newly approved programs include:  

•          An increased focus on disadvantaged communities and multi-unit dwellings and emphasizes a range of infrastructure upgrades needed to support EV chargers, such as higher voltage electric panels, conduit and wiring.

•          A new construction rebate intended to help cover the cost of the additional installation and charger costs to developers of multi-unit dwellings that exceed CALGreen or local building codes.

•          Program participants must be part of demand response programs and accept time-of-use pricing in order to align charging incentives with grid conditions. Charging stations will also be encouraged to use the time-of-use structure in prices they charge EV drivers.

•          Half of the investment must occur in disadvantaged communities and 30% in multi-unit dwellings.

•          The decision requires SCE to annually report on the number and types of jobs created, including information on training and wages.

The CPUC’s decision adopts a program and budget that is lower than SCE’s original proposal of $760.1 million. The commission said the revised program would result in a roughly 40% lower cost to ratepayers,  20% fewer charging ports, and a reduction in the estimated cost per port. 

In addition to Charge Ready 2 for passenger EVs, SCE launched a program last year for trucks, buses and off-road industrial equipment. That program aims to add charging to support at least 8,490 medium- and heavy-duty EVs over a five-year period. The $356 million program is modeled after the Charge Ready pilot.

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