Charger Proposal Gaining Opposition
San-Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to deploy 25,000 Level II electric vehicle chargers and 100 fast chargers, filed in February, has been revised and put on hold by the California Public Utilities Commission. CPUC is seeking public comments on the PG&E revised plan through the end of this month.
In September, the CPUC rejected PG&E’s $654 million application, asking for a new plan with less charging stations in a phased-in timetable. On October 12, PG&E filed a revised proposal with two options: one to install 2,510 chargers at a total cost of $87 million; the second option would install 2,510 charging stations over two years, and about 7,500 over three years at a total cost of $222 million. The cost of the charging stations and installations would be recovered through the rate base.
The CPUC is in the process of receiving public comments on the PG&E proposal. The deadline for “Intervenor Testimony” has been extended and will be due by the close of business on Nov. 30, 2015 and “Concurrent Rebuttal Testimony will be due on Dec. 21, 2015, according to CPUC. A “Service List” includes several industry groups, automakers, and utilities and can be viewed on this CPUC website page. CPUC maintains service lists for all open, formal proceedings listing parties to the proceeding and all other persons who wish to receive documents. The original proceeding page from February can be viewed on this website page.
Challenging PG&E’s Plan
Charging station suppliers have expressed concerns to CPUC over the PG&E proposal. One concern is that the original 25,000 Level II and 100 fast charger plan from earlier this year excluded experienced charging station companies that have been deploying successful chargers in the region for years; and that the plans introduced by PG&E in October are very similar, without including opportunities for charging station companies to submit bids. Another concern expressed by charging station suppliers to CPUC has been the cost of the charging stations in the original PG&E proposal being much higher than the typical market price.
Charging station projects, and electric vehicle acquisitions, could come to a halt in the region if decision makers are waiting for the CPUC ruling to come through, says Dave Packard, VP, utility solutions at ChargePoint. That’s going to stretch into next year with the CPUC commentary periods. So far, PG&E hasn’t been getting support for their proposal in the comments showing up in the filings, Packard said.
“Charging companies have been around for several years and have been building the infrastructure,” Packard said. “We don’t need PG&E to commit to reworking the business model.”
A new trade group has started up, Electric Vehicle Charging Association, which may make comments with CPUC for member companies. Founding members of EVCA are ABM, ChargePoint, Clean Fuel Connection, Envision Solar, EV Connect, NRG EVgo, Plugless Power, SeaWave Battery, and Volta Charging.
Jim Hawley, principal at Dewey Square Group, which has worked with the members who have formed Electric Vehicle Charging Association, says that while he isn’t speaking formally for the membership, their concern is that these companies offer a nimble, innovative approach to the process. They want to make ownership of electric vehicles a preferred choice for car shoppers.
“We have created an ecosystem capable of developing the most useful model for charging stations. It’s more like the evolution of smart phones, rather than one decision maker in the market determining its future,” Hawley said.
PG&E has not yet responded to requests for comments to this article.
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ChargePoint, Dave Packard, VP, utility solutions, 912-882-0702, mobile 912-258-5665;
Electric Vehicle Charging Association, Damon Conklin, Dewey Square Group, 916-447-4099; www.evassociation.org
Source: CPUC with Fleets & Fuels follow-up