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PG&E wants ratepayers to pay bill for $653M in car chargers
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The state’s biggest utility wants to install 25,000 electric car charging stations across Northern and Central California and have customers foot the bill.

More than 60,000 plug-in electric vehicles are currently registered in PG&E’s service area in Central and Northern California.

But there are only 1,991 charging stations statewide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Some drivers worry they will be stranded.

The stations would have chargers that provide up to 25 miles of power for every hour of charging.

For motorists driving long distances, the utility will install 100 “fast chargers,” which can recharge an electric vehicle’s battery in 30 minutes. A growing number of the fast-charging stations are popping up along the “West Coast Electric Highway,” which runs from British Columbia to Baja California.

The utility says the goal is to help Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to have 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2025.

The price tag for the charging stations is $653.8 million.

The chargers would be located in apartment complexes, retail centers, and at workplaces.

PG&E wants its 5.1 million electricity customers to cover the costs.

On Monday, the utility submitted its plan to the California Public Utilities Commission for consideration.

 If approved, residential customers could see a hike of about 70 cents on their monthly bill for five years starting in 2018.

PG&E says there are other benefits as well.

“By supporting market acceptance of electric vehicles, it should create tremendous new opportunities for other infrastructure and technology companies, help keep California in the forefront of electric vehicle innovation, and create new jobs in local communities across Northern and Central California,” PG&E President and CEO Tony Earley said.

Not everyone is behind the plan, including electric vehicle charging network ChargePoint.

“The proposal PG&E filed today creates a monopoly in EV charging equipment and services that will stifle growth and innovation in the market,” CEO Pasquale Romano said in a statement.