The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in a ruling today which could have interesting implications for how electric vehicle infrastructure unfolds in the largest state in the country, said that companies which sell electric vehicle charging services to the public will not be regulated as “public utilities” as currently spelled out in that state’s public utilities code.
The CPUC, in its 41 page ruling [PDF], said that its action will provide clarity regarding its regulatory role in the market for electric vehicle charging services. Its decision finds that “the sale of electric vehicle charging services to the public does not make a corporation or person a public utility solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.” It also does not plan to let electric vehicles run uncontrolled in California however, identifying other methods under which it might exert regulatory authority over electric vehicle charging, such as dictating the terms under which a recognized utility would provide service to a charging provider.
“Electric transportation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality, and reduce California’s dependence on oil,” said CPUC Commissioner Nancy E. Ryan, in a statement. “Consumers will not adopt electric vehicles without adequate charging infrastructure. This decision provides needed regulatory clarity to encourage the state’s entrepreneurs and investors to develop charging solutions that will satisfy consumer needs and work harmoniously with the electric grid. ”