California regulators have been busy approving “pilot” projects for utilities to start paying for EV charging infrastructure, at significant ratepayer expense. Last week, they approved PG&E’s controversial plan, which had the blessing of environmentalists and unions, while ratepayer advocates and the San Francisco Chronicle cried foul. It will target a deployment of 7,500 level 2 charging ports and 100 DC fast-charging ports.
And with the passage of SB 350 last year, utilities will be entering the EV charging game big time in the coming years. These pilots are just the initial salvo.
But the state had already required $100 million in EV charging investment from NRG/eVgo as part of a legal settlement in 2012. That company has been badly behind schedule on getting these stations up and running, leading regulators to call for an audit over a year ago.
The status of the audit? Well, I emailed the California Public Utilities Commission recently to find out, and they told me they just hired an auditor to do this work at the end of February. No explanation was offered as to why that took the agency a whole year to do so.
So while regulators are busy ushering utilities into the EV charging world, they’re asleep at the wheel monitoring the state’s $100 million investment already in the works. Not a good sign as utilities start spending big ratepayer bucks on EV charging.