California regulator approves $738 million for EV charging stations

(Reuters) - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday said it would invest $738 million in transportation electrification projects across the state, as a part of its 2030 goal for clean air and greenhouse gas reduction.

CPUC approved setting up charging stations and infrastructure to support electric passenger vehicles and trucks.

The program, which will be implemented over the next five years, will provide rebates to residents for installing charging stations at their homes and will also set up infrastructure at several sites to support the electrification of medium- or heavy-duty vehicles.

ChargePoint, the U.S. maker and operator of electric vehicle charging stations, said the program would be a model for utilities and regulatory agencies across the nation.

“This will lead to major benefits for California drivers, ratepayers, utilities, public and private fleet operators and transit agencies, and riders of public transportation,” ChargePoint’s vice president of utility solutions, Dave Packard, said in an emailed statement.

However, the California Independent Oil Marketers Association in response termed the move “California’s largest utility companies’ $500 million money grab from the CPUC.”

“This money will be paid by California’s hardworking families to protect big business profits and finance projects for the 4 percent of the vehicle market whose average incomes exceed $100,000 annually,” said the association’s executive director, Ryan Hanretty, in a statement.

CPUC said it has allocated an additional $29.5 million for program evaluation, bringing the total to nearly $768 million.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru and Rishika Chaterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Gopakumar Warrier