A pilot program by San Diego Gas & Electric to install 3,500 electric vehicle charging stations at 350 sites throughout its service territory has been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.
The utility said it would maximize the use of renewable energy to power the stations in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The CPUC greenlighted the program Thursday.
"(The) decision not only creates an exciting new opportunity for us to better serve our customers, it also delivers a real solution to achieving California's ambitious climate goals," said Jim Avery, chief development officer of SDG&E. "This pilot program will provide us with a unique opportunity to support the increased adoption of zero-emission vehicles to reduce smog and other pollutants created by the transportation sector in California."
According to SDG&E, there are 19,000 electric vehicles in the region.
The utility's plan is to have 10 stations each at area businesses and multi-family housing complexes, with 10 percent of the chargers in disadvantaged communities.
The plan is designed to overcome obstacles to growth in the number of electric vehicles in the area and reassure local drivers that they will have a place to charge their cars. Rates will be set up to encourage drivers to charge their vehicles during off-peak hours, avoiding the need for the utility to avoid building new power plants.