California utilities want $1 billion to fund more vehicle chargers

Utilities tout more chargers at California homes and businesses

Three of California's largest utilities are collectively seeking about $1 billion in public funding that would be used to aggressively expand the electric-vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the most populous US state. Southern California Edison is looking to make the largest impact, having asked the state for more than $570 million — in the form of additional billings from customers — to fund charging programs and infrastructure. The utilities' funding requests are part of a broader effort for California to meet its recently updated goal to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent between 1990 and 2030 as a way to address global warming.

With transportation accounting for about 40 percent of the Golden State's greenhouse-gas emissions, the utilities are each making a case that the large sums are warranted. For Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), that means a request to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for $253 million over five years. Meanwhile, San Diego Gas & Electric is seeking $246 million.

The overall goal is to facilitate the addition of tens of thousands of plug-in vehicle chargers at homes and businesses across the state, while further spurring the adoption of electric vehicles, particularly as a replacement to gas- or diesel-powered delivery trucks or buses. As it is, California accounts for almost 12,000 of the approximately 40,000 publicly accessible plug-in charging outlets in the country, according to the US Department of Energy. Take a look at PG&E's press release here, check out Southern California Edison's release here, and see the SDG&E press release here.

While the US Environmental Protection Agency maintained that automakers should be able to meet the 2025 fuel-economy goals that were early during the Obama Administration, President Donald Trump has hinted that he may modify those numbers. Regardless, the California government has indicated that it will operate by a set of green-transportation standards that will continue to exceed the EPA's, making it one of many areas in which state officials say they may buck the federal government's regulations.

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