Local Utilities Plan to Increase EV Infrastructure

Late last month the Portland Business Journal wrote that Oregon’s two biggest utilities, Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power, are working to incentivize electric vehicle use in our state. Having large utilities on board is an important part of making the dream of transportation electrification come to life.

Check out the PBJ article below to learn more about their plans to increase electric EV charging infrastructure, and to conduct public outreach and education on their efforts.

“Oregon’s two biggest utilities on Tuesday filed plans they say will help grow the adoption of electric vehicles in the state, an often-forgotten element of the historic energy legislation adopted earlier this year.

Portland General Electric’s plan includes a partnership with TriMet to provide charging infrastructure the transit agency can use to run five electric buses — up from the previously planned four — and a proposal to build six quick-charging areas like the “Electric Avenue” setup the utility has in front of its downtown Portland headquarters.

Pacific Power’s headline proposals include seven public charging pods and a new rate for charging-station electricity that the company said would make them more economical to operate.

Both utilities also proposed pilot programs as well as outreach and education efforts.

“Portland General Electric and Pacific Power have produced extremely thoughtful plans based on many conversations with diverse stakeholders,” Jeff Allen, executive director of Drive Oregon, said in a news release put out by the utilities.

“We are particularly excited about the consumer engagement aspects of these plans,” Allen added. “Most Oregonians simply have no idea that over 20 models of electric vehicles are readily available to buy today, that half a dozen of them can be leased for about $200 a month, or that they are incredibly fun to drive. Electric companies have a key role to play in helping their customers learn more about these energy efficient new products.”

The proposals by the utilities grow out of the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan that became law this past spring. The legislation hikes the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2040, and requires PGE and Pacific Power to eliminate coal power from their energy mixes by 2030.

In its PUC filing on Tuesday, Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) noted that TriMet had received a $3.4 million federal grant for four electric buses, along with four depot chargers and an en-route charger.

But the utility said that by installing, operating, maintaining and owning the chargers, PGE will trim TriMet’s up-front capital costs and allow for the purchase of a fifth electric bus.

Pacific Power, meanwhile, said that a new, “transitional” rate for electricity used at public charging stations would reduce the typical monthly electricity bill for a DC fast-charger operator from $427 to $145.”