SAN FRANCISCO: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today submitted a proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to establish new commercial electric vehicle (EV) charging rates to help drive more rapid customer adoption.
PG&E’s proposal will make EV charging simpler and more affordable for fleet vehicles and charging stations at apartment buildings, workplaces and other public locations in Central and Northern California. Combining the new rate with PG&E’s efforts to accelerate EV adoption will drive progress toward California’s shared climate goals and result in cleaner air for all.
As EV charging stations become more common in places such as multi-family residences, businesses, transit stations and other commercial spaces, PG&E has recognized that the existing rate structure does not best meet the needs of commercial EV charging. Currently, public or fleet EV chargers on PG&E’s commercial electric rates can see higher costs than the typical business customer, on average. These costs pose challenges to the expansion of EVs and needed charging stations.
“Expanding the use of electric vehicles is essential for California to achieve its bold climate and clean-air goals. As EV adoption has continued to grow in California, PG&E has recognized the need to create pricing plans that enable customers to take advantage of this clean technology that’s vital to our future,” said Steve Malnight, PG&E’s senior vice president for Energy Supply and Policy. “Charging an electric vehicle is different than powering a building. EV charging will be simpler, more affordable and more consistent under this proposed plan.”
Under the existing rate structure, high-power public EV chargers that are on business electric rates can incur demand charges, a cost included on commercial customer bills that are calculated based on the peak electricity usage of a customer during a billing period. Planning around and managing these demand charges pose unique and significant challenges to EV charging projects.
Rates Tailored for Customer Needs
PG&E’s proposal would replace demand charges with new subscription pricing, which allows customers to choose the amount of power they need for their charging stations, similar to choosing a data plan for a cell-phone bill. This subscription charge is much lower than current demand charges, and allows customers to have simpler, more consistent monthly costs.
Access to more affordable rates and greater bill certainty will help innovative California business make new investments in EV infrastructure and commercial fleets. Stakeholders in the clean transportation sector were quick to endorse PG&E’s proposal:
“ChargePoint applauds PG&E for the innovative commercial electric vehicle rate proposal that will, if approved, benefit EV drivers by significantly reducing barriers for operating charging stations in California,” said Renee Samson, director of utility solutions for ChargePoint, Inc., a California-based EV infrastructure company. “ChargePoint was happy to collaborate with PG&E and others on the effort and hopes this rate design will serve as an example for utilities around the country moving to support transportation electrification.”
“As one of the largest energy providers in California, PG&E plays an essential role in accelerating the transition to electric vehicles,” said Ryan Popple, chief executive officer for Proterra, a leading innovator in electric bus manufacturing. “PG&E’s proposal simplifies EV charging rate structures to make it more affordable. Electric vehicles offer the potential to lower electricity prices for all Californians, as electric vehicle batteries can provide a variety of grid services, including storage for renewable solar and wind power. California utilities are an important partner in achieving the state’s clean energy objectives, and we hope to see utilities nationwide follow their example in accelerating the essential transition to electric vehicles.”
“Creative new rate designs that help transit fleets like ours save on fuel costs will help enable us to make the transition to a 100-percent clean fleet, further reducing emissions on behalf of the residents that rely upon our fleet for safe, efficient, and reliable transportation throughout San Joaquin County,” said Donna DeMartino, chief executive officer for San Joaquin Regional Transit District. “Progress toward a zero-emission fleet requires solutions that address charging costs, infrastructure, and incentives for vehicle replacements. PG&E’s proposed rate design provides a critical portion of that solution, and its approval will help bring us closer to our zero-emission goal.”
Ongoing Support for EV Adoption
The commercial EV rate proposal builds on successful residential EV rates that PG&E has offered since 2013. More than a quarter of EV drivers in PG&E’s service territory have signed up for the residential EV rate, which offers charging rates overnight at the equivalent of about $1.20 per gallon of gasoline. EV buyers in California have said saving money on fuel costs is the primary reason they chose to go electric. PG&E also offers customers a $500 Clean Fuel Rebate when they purchase an EV – enough to cover about a year’s worth of driving costs. Customers can learn more about EVs by viewing PG&E’s online resources and get help determining which rate plan makes sense for them.
With the Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act (Senate Bill 350) signed into law on October 7, 2015, the California Legislature recognized the role of energy companies in developing necessary EV infrastructure to help the state meet climate and clean-air goals. Through its EV Charge Network program, PG&E aims to help accelerate the adoption of EVs in California by increasing access to charging. Partnering with business customers and EV charging companies, PG&E will install 7,500 EV chargers at condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces across Northern and Central California, including at sites in disadvantaged communities. PG&E will be launching similar incentive programs for medium- and heavy-duty fleet charging and public fast charging stations early next year.
To learn more about other options for EV drivers, visit pge.com/ev.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.