By Benjamin L. Sheinman
At its meeting on October 7, 2021, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously voted to approve Resolution E-5167. This resolution established new rules to account for utility-side distribution costs associated with EV charging deployment. The new rules were issued in response to AB 841 (Ting) (Chapter 372, Statutes of 2020), which required, inter alia, the establishment of new rules or tariffs to account for utility-side distribution costs associated with EV charging deployment [26:1 CRLR 204] On January 15, 2021, pursuant to AB 841, Commissioner Rechtschaffen issued an Assigned Commissioner Ruling (ACR) on R.18-12-006 seeking feedback from electrical corporations “on how to implement and interpret certain portions of AB 841.”
In response to the ACR and the requirements of AB 841, three Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) submitted advice letters to the Commission: Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). All three IOUs proposed new rules dealing with the installation of new electrical service and distribution system upgrades for customers installing separately metered EV charging equipment (other than those in single-family residences). Under previous rules, some of the cost to install such separate equipment was borne by the customer receiving the service. Each of the Advice Letters of these three major state utilities proposed shifting some of these upgrade costs from the customer to ratepayers. The exact cost to ratepayers is unknown, as the Commission is “unable to estimate the total cost impact, since it is difficult to estimate the rate of EV charger deployment and the number of customers that will take service under the EV infrastructure rules.”
Per the Resolution, the three IOUs are required to submit Tier 1 advice letters within 60-days of the adoption of the Resolution, to compare their respective Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Rules (including Rules 15 and 16 that are relevant). The IOUs must also add language to their rules clarifying their applicability and limitations. In order to ensure the IOUs all have the same definition of “electric vehicle” in their infrastructure rules, the Resolution also requires IOUs adopt the definition referenced in D. 20-09-025. The three IOUs also must update their EV Infrastructure Rules to reflect the requirement to use existing service where technically feasible and to enroll customers in commercial “time-variant” electric vehicle rate programs. The three IOUs are also required to submit expected revenue and rate impacts through the end of 2024 in their Advice Letters.
The three IOUs are required to implement the new rules s within six months of the Resolutions adoption. The IOUs are also required to host public workshops to discuss barriers to timely energization by this 6onth timeline from the Resolution’s approval. Within sixty days of the workshop, the IOUs are required to provide the Commission via a joint Tier 2 advice letter: A proposed service energization timeline that includes, as a minimum, a numerical target for the time between when a customer submits an application and when the site is energized. The discussion and feedback from the workshop on the Resolution included discussion on factors that are within or outside of the IOUs control. The discussion also included a description of how the IOUs can improve the timing for other responsibilities. The Resolution became effective on October 7, 2021.