Alternative-Fueled Vehicles (AFVs)


In August 2009 the CPUC issued the Alternative-Fueled Vehicle Rulemaking in order to support California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals as set forth in Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. The Alternative-Fueled Vehicles (AFV) covered in this proceeding include Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)—collectively “Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEV).  The CPUC's goal is to develop consistent statewide policies and standards to guide and encourage development of electric vehicle metering, home electric vehicle charging infrastructure, tariff schedules, and if advisable, incentive programs. The CPUC will consider issues of submetering vs. parallel metering: submetering provides a customer the ability to separately monitor PEV charging without the need to install a separate meter.  This Rulemaking was divided into four phases: 

Phase 1:  On August 2, 2010, the CPUC issued a Decision that concluded that providers of electric vehicle charging services are not subject to CPUC regulation as a public utility. 

Phase 2:  On July 25, 2011 the CPUC issued a Decision establishing policies to overcome barriers to electric vehicle deployment and compliance with state laws and ordered the following compliance reports:

  • Notification Assessment Report: Parties were directed to prepare an assessment report of the notification options to track the location of PEV charging on the electric grid, the merits of those options, and the projected costs and implementation scenarios.
  • Submeter Protocol Workshop Report & Roadmap Report:  Parties were directed to develop a plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle submeter protocol that would include technical performance requirements for submeters, identify minimum communication functionality and standards, describe how submeter data management will support and protect the security and privacy of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles user data collected by utilities and third party entities, and provide a methodology for settling disputes.  At least one publicly noticed workshop with a documenting report is required.
  • Load Research Report:  The utilities were directed to prepare a load research report to track and quantify all new load and associated upgrade costs to allow PEV loads and related costs to be identified, and evaluate how metering arrangements and rate design impact PEV charging behavior.

Phase 3:  On July 28, 2011, the CPUC issued a Ruling setting the scope and schedule for each of the three compliance reports.  The purpose of this phase was to serve as a forum for parties to develop and file compliance reports.

Phase 4:  On March 25, 2013, the CPUC issued a Ruling to amend the scope of the proceeding. The CPUC issued a Decision on July 3, 2013 directing the utilities to continue the load research based on the Load Research Report filed in Phase 3. On November 19, 2013, the CPUC issued a Decision to:

  • Modify the PEV submetering protocol requirements by adopting CPUC staff’s PEV submetering Roadmap for a two-phase pilot project to better understand the costs and benefits of electric vehicle submetering.
  • Extend the deadline for a final proposal till September 30, 2015.           

As the above proceeding closed, the CPUC opened a new Rulemaking on November 22, 2013 to consider the remaining issues, including Alternative-Fueled Vehicle Programs, Tariffs, Policies, and financing. The CPUC continues work supporting California Executive Order B-16-2012 whose goals state that California’s zero-emission vehicle infrastructure will be able to support up to one million vehicles by 2020 and that over 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles will be on California roadways by 2025 (also stated in the Governor’s 2013 ZEV Action Plan. The new proceeding considers two policy papers to jump-start the conversation with stakeholders:



ORA Position  

ORA supports the CPUC’s efforts to facilitate the integration of Alternative-Fueled Vehicles in California, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, ORA opposes utilizing ratepayer subsidies, unless Plug-in Electric Vehicle benefits to all ratepayers exceed the subsidies provided by the ratepayers (e.g., charging PEVs off-peak, placing downward pressure on all rates). ORA supports submetering options so that costly upgrades to utility billing systems are avoided. ORA supports using the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program to fund submetering pilots so long as the pilots comply with the criteria set forth in the EPIC decisions. ORA also supports the inclusion of customers with PEV service equipment currently installed in the pilot program. ORA generally opposes utility financing of PEV-related facilities as it could increase costs and risks borne by nonparticipating ratepayers.

In regards to the November 22, 2013 Rulemaking, ORA supports:

  • The two-track approach for Vehicle-Grid Integration as proposed by CPUC Staff’s White Paper.
  • The goal articulated in the CPUC Rulemaking to evaluate utility activities that can support Vehicle-Grid Integration initiatives as well as benefits from PEV battery storage, however these goals should be considered in the longer term due the result of lower than expected PEV market penetration.
  • CPUC evaluation of data from current pilot programs and recommends additional pilot studies to understand the scope and benefits of the Vehicle-Grid Integration project. 
  • V1G (unidirectional power flow into the battery) should be given a higher priority over V2G (bidirectional power flow in and out of the battery) because it will be more readily available and is less complicated to implement. 

See ORA’s December 13, 2013, Opening Comments.  

See ORA’s December 20, 2013,  Reply Comments.



Proceeding Status

Workshops on the topics of Vehicle-Grid Integration, rates/tariffs, and financing are expected to be held in the first quarter of 2014. 

Utility reports on the development of submetering protocols are  expected in early 2014.

A proposed decision adopting submetering options, related rules, and tariffs is expected in the first quarter of 2014.

See the Proceeding docket for Phases 1 - 4.

See the New Proceeding docket.



Other Resources 

ORA White Paper: Electric Vehicles: A Ratepayer Perspective 

ORA Report:  Revenue Allocation and Rate Design: Facilitating Plug-in Electric Vehicle Integration 

California Energy Commission's DRIVE website 

California Air Resources Board Global Warming Solutions Act webpage.