San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and groups representing environmental organizations as well as environmental justice, electric vehicle service providers, automakers and labor signed a settlement agreement in support of SDG&E's innovative Electric Vehicle Grid-Integration pilot project. The pilot calls for SDG&E to install EV charging infrastructure at up to 550 sites throughout the utility's service territory and offer special rates to encourage charging at optimal times for the grid.

These diverse organizations have come together to make this pilot program a key step in meeting Governor Jerry Brown's goal of having 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on California roads by 2025.

"More than 50 percent of SDG&E's residential customers live in multi-family communities, where only a small fraction currently has access to charging. To ensure charging is accessible to all customers, our pilot will address gaps like this in the market," said Jim Avery, SDG&E's senior vice president for power supply. 

The settlement agreement supporting the EV pilot was signed by a wide variety of stakeholders, including SDG&E, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club, California Coalition of Utility Employees, the Greenlining Institute, ChargePoint Inc, NRG EV Services LLC, Smart Grid Services Siemens AG, Plug in America, General Motors, Honda Motors, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, KN Grid, CALSTART, the Center for Sustainable Energy and the Green Power Institute.

The agreement was submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) June 3. The CPUC will review the agreement and is expected to issue a final decision later this year.

Building owners and managers would have a choice of grid-integrated rate options and equipment, promoting competition and market growth in this nascent industry. SDG&E would install at least 10 percent of the chargers in economically disadvantaged communities to expand access to clean EVs in these underserved areas. The pilot will feature special rates that encourage EV customers to lower their fueling costs by charging their cars when electricity supply, including renewable energy is plentiful and energy prices are low. With rates encouraging off-peak charging, vehicles would be efficiently integrated onto the grid, helping to avoid on-peak charging that drives the need to build more power plants and other electrical infrastructure.

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and 868,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles.