The biggest electric utility in California, the largest car market in the country, just took an important step to give drivers access to a cleaner fuel that’s roughly the equivalent of buck-a-gallon gasoline. Pacific Gas & Electric (“PG&E”) has submitted a proposal for new and improved rate plans that encourage electric car drivers to charge when there’s plenty of spare capacity on the electrical grid, at a price that, in real dollars, is less than half what gas cost in 1949.
To be clear, PG&E already has rates designed for electric cars, but those rates are unnecessarily complex and in need of an update, which is why the California Public Utilities Commission directed PG&E to develop new, simpler options for electric vehicle drivers. Yesterday’s proposal is actually the second attempt by PG&E to comply with that directive. The first one spurred 75 letters of protest from some vocal electric car customers who objected to some of the proposed changes. The plan PG&E submitted yesterday addresses the concerns raised in those protest letters and should significantly improve the fundamental economics of vehicle electrification in a large portion of the Golden State.
Both the original PG&E proposal and the one submitted yesterday offer the lowest prices during nighttime hours to encourage drivers to charge when there’s plenty of spare capacity in the electrical grid. But the new proposal is more attractive across the board, and and has more hours during the weekend when drivers can take advantage of the lowest price. More good news for electric cars in California, whereas the original proposal would have imposed an $8.00 monthly customer charge, the new proposal has no customer charge. Likewise, whereas the original proposal would have simply replaced the existing electric car rates, the new proposal would allow those customers who like their current rate plan to keep it until 2015.
via PG&E Proposes New and Improved Electric Car Rates | Clean Fleet Report.
Categories: Energy, Policy, Transportation