California PUC not to regulate EV charging companies


Nancy E. Ryan,
California PUC
San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 3, 2010 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has decided that companies that sell electric vehicle charging services to the public will not be regulated as “public utilities”.

The decision, which is based on an analysis of the Public Utilities Code, finds that the sale of electric vehicle charging services to the public does not make a corporation or person a public utility solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

In their arguments to the PUC, San Diego Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Gas Company argued along these lines, whereas Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Sacramento Municipal Utility District argued that such providers should be regulated.

“Electric transportation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality, and reduce California’s dependence on oil,” said California PUC Commissioner Nancy E. Ryan. “Consumers will not adopt electric vehicles without adequate charging infrastructure. This decision provides needed regulatory clarity to encourage the state’s entrepreneurs and investors to develop charging solutions that will satisfy consumer needs and work harmoniously with the electric grid.”

The Commission points out in its decision paper that nevertheless, it has many other sources of regulatory authority that can and will be applied to ensure electric vehicle charging is integrated harmoniously into the electric grid. Among these are the authority to implement rules necessary to facilitate the widespread deployment of electric vehicles in California, authority on procurement requirements, setting the rates charged to customers with electric vehicle charging equipment, and adopting demand response and energy efficiency programs.

These and other issues will form the next phase of the proceeding.