Santa Monica, CA—Consumer Watchdog has petitioned the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to reject a PG&E proposal to monopolize electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure on grounds that it will raise costs for ratepayers while stifling innovation. PG&E has proposed to charge ratepayers to install 25,100 EV charging stations, whether or not they are EV drivers.

“Allowing PG&E to be the only decision maker with authority over the hardware, locations and pricing of this EV charging network will result in little to no incentive to keep costs low, particularly when these costs are being passed along to ratepayers,” Consumer Watchdog wrote in its petition. “Nor can we trust PG&E, which is the subject of ongoing scandal, to give consumers access to the most advanced technology for the least amount of money.”

To read the petition, see:

PG&E’s proposal would pass through the estimated $653.8 million cost of the program to all ratepayers in their service territory, which covers most of central and northern California.

“PG&E will be using this enormous investment to enter into a market activity in which it has no previous experience,” said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. “That creates real financial risk for ratepayers and real risk of an inappropriate, one-size-fits-all result of station infrastructure with limited features for both those who install stations and those who use them.”

Ongoing scandals involving the PUC and PG&E also do not instill confidence that regulators will make sure the utility installs the best technology for the best price, she said.

“Judging by thousands of emails made public that show PG&E actually dictated to the PUC what safety directive it should receive in the wake of the deadly San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, what’s to guarantee that PG&E will develop a plan that enables customer choice and advances the best technology without unnecessarily burdening ratepayers?” asked Tucker.