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PG&E proposes to establish new commercial EV rate class

PG&E will use a subscription model similar to mobile phone data plans

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has submitted a proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to establish new commercial electric vehicle 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 recognised 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 recognised the need to create pricing plans that enable customers to take advantage of this clean technology that’s vital to our future,” said PG&E senior vice-president for energy supply and policy Steve Malnight. “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.

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.

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