California Public Utilities Commission Expands Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready 2 Transportation Electrification Program

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By Rachel Rockwell

On September 2, 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued D.20-08-045 to authorize Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Charge Ready 2 infrastructure program. With the decision, the Commission approves $436 million in funding toward electric vehicle charge ports in SCE’s service territory, which includes $417.5 million for charging infrastructure; $14.5 million for marketing, education, and outreach; and $4.3 million for an evaluation of the Charge Ready 2 program.

SCE first filed A.14-10-014 for approval to start Phase One of the program on October 30, 2014. According to CPUC’s 2020 decision, the initial goals of Phase One were geared towards deploying charging stations, marketing, and education in support of electric transportation. SCE filed A.18-06-015 on June 26, 2018, for approval of Phase Two of the program. The 2020 decision noted a number of issues with the second application, including whether the results of Phase One justified implementing Phase Two, whether Phase Two was in the interest of ratepayers, and whether Phase Two meets the goals of the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (SB 350 (de León) (Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015).  [see 23:2 CRLR 165–166] In its Phase Two application, SCE initially sought $760.1 million in funding for charging infrastructure installation and education and outreach programs.

In its 2020 decision, CPUC made revisions in response to various comments the Commission received. Notably, the CPUC revised the decision to ensure costs associated with Phase Two are recovered by allocating program costs on an equal cents per kWh basis. The CPUC also declined to provide that all charging stations must be constructed by Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program certified electricians, as was authorized in Phase One.

Among other things, the decision ordered SCE to submit its requests to the CPUC for adjustments to the program after 18 months of its implementation to address the program’s status; a breakdown of costs to utilities, customers, and others; and an explanation of the efforts taken to reach the target number of charging ports, as well as any other challenges to customer interests.

The CPUC, in its decision, noted the significance of approving Phase Two on various emissions goals throughout the state. The decision moves California toward its goal of attaining 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2050.

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