Electric Vehicles—Frequently Asked Questions
Who do I contact to set up the charging station for my car?
Work with your electrical contractor to evaluate your home’s wiring, electrical outlets and other hardware that can support the charging requirements of your new PEV.
Your dealer may offer a home assessment as part of the PEV purchase price. Some automakers offer a consultation with an electrical contractor as part of the electric vehicle purchase.
PG&E can only perform work outside the home at your meter/electrical panel location to enable the necessary utility service to the house.
What does it cost to get plug-in ready?
Total cost varies depending on current electrical design, local code requirements, the rate and charging options you choose among many other factors. Potential costs include:
- Charging equipment installation. This cost can be provided by your licensed electrical contractor.
- Second electrical meter installation – You'll need to budget for a second electrical meter if you decide to switch to our E-9B pricing plan. This allows your home's electric load to be measured on the existing meter while a second meter and dedicated breaker is used to measure your PEV's energy use. PG&E charges a one-time $250 fee to residential customers for any new meter installation.
- Electrical panel upgrade – This applies to customers who choose the faster charging Level 2 option, which utilizes 208 to 240 volts. This adds significant load to you electrical panel, resulting in an electrical panel upgrade. The upgrade cost can be provided by your licensed electrical contractor.
- Utility service upgrade – Your home may require utility electrical system upgrades in order to charge the vehicle and/or accommodate a second meter. This cost can be determined by PG&E after an on-site assessment.
Who is responsible for the meter?
As a home owner, your responsibility typically begins at the meter and extends into your home. It includes all electrical wiring and circuits within your home.
The electrical power supply coming to your home (whether from overhead or underground) and connected to your home’s electrical panel and meter is generally called the utility side of the meter. The utility side is outside your home ends at the electric panel, where your meter is installed. PG&E is responsible for the utility side of your service, but not the wiring and circuits within your home.
I have a SmartMeter™ and want the E-9B rate, do I still need a separate meter installed?
Yes. At this time, all customers interested in enrolling in the E-9B rate will need a second meter and electrical panel installed. The second SmartMeter™TM will measure the electricity used to charge your vehicle.
What do I need to do if my situation changes? (ex: move, purchase a second vehicle, sell my vehicle, or want to move off of the E9 rate)
You should contact PG&E.
If you move to another residence you will need to contact PG&E and follow the process for getting your new home ready for your electric vehicle. You will also need to contact PG&E if you are considering purchasing a second vehicle so that PG&E can evaluate the utility side of your service to ensure you have adequate capacity to charge both vehicles. You may want to hire your own qualified electrical contractor to evaluate your load capacity, including accommodating your new Level I and Level II charging requirements
If you sell your vehicle or no longer require the E9 rate, you'll need to call PG&E to request that the electric vehicle service be turned off. There is no charge for disconnecting the E-9B meter panel or cancelling the rate.
I have a business and want to provide charging for customers and employees at our location. What do I need to do?
Please see our online Plug-in Electric Vehicles Non Residential Customers webpage.
Or, call our Electric Vehicle Customer Service Center at 1-877-PGE-SRVC (1-877-743-7782) Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
I have a rooftop solar system. What are my rate options?
PG&E customers who have a solar generating system are eligible to enroll in the electric vehicle rates.
How will having solar panels impact the cost of charging an electric vehicle?
The electricity generated from a solar generating system could help offset the costs of electricity used to charge an electric vehicle. The net effect of the solar generating system will depend on the system's efficiency, the weather, the amount of energy used to charge the vehicle, and other factors.
Will charging an electric vehicle affect my solar power agreement?
Charging an electric vehicle will not impact your solar power agreement as long as there are no changes to your solar generating system. If you are planning to make any changes to your current system, please call us at 1-877-PGE-SRVC (1-877-743-7782) Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
If I add solar panels to my existing solar generating system to compensate for charging an electric vehicle, are those new panels eligible for a rebate?
If you already have installed a solar generating system and have received a rebate for the system, you are eligible to receive a new rebate for any additional solar panels that are added to the system. The rebate will be directly proportional to the size of the new installation.
Please note: PG&E will not energize the new service until the completed work passes inspection and the utility has been notified of such by the city or county.
If I try the E-9A rate and do not like it, can I change to another rate?
Yes, the E-9B rate is an alternative option. However, because the non-electric vehicle portion of the account must be served by a Domestic tariff, it is important to understand that the customer will be losing the less costly off-peak rates formerly applied to home power use.
Does PG&E need to verify PEV ownership prior to putting a customer on a PEV rate?
Proof of ownership is not required.
How do I get billed for electricity if I plug in at home, work, a public charging station or a friend’s house? What if a friend charges his/her vehicle at my house?
Electricity used when charging an electric vehicle at home will appear as a charge in the customer’s normal monthly utility bill. When charging at a friend’s house, that electricity usage will appear on the friend’s bill. We anticipate that billing systems for vehicle charging outside the home will evolve over time in ways similar to how customers today pay for gasoline.
How does paying for kilowatt hours compare to buying gasoline?
According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles operate at the equivalent of 75 ¢ per gallon of gasoline.
Will electric vehicles drive up the price of electricity?
During early market development, when the number of plug-in electric vehicles is still relatively small, the impact on overall utility rates is expected to be negligible. Any rate changes will first be reviewed and approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.
In the longer term, the effect of plug-in electric vehicles on electricity rates will be determined in large part by the California Public Utilities Commission. The Commission is currently investigating rates, charging infrastructure and other policies to prepare for the expected growth of plug-in electric vehicles in 2010 and beyond.
What if I have a third party service provider?
Your current service provider should be your first contact for details regarding your electric service and your purchase of a PEV.
Can PG&E shut off my vehicle charging?
Only a power outage or failure to pay your electric bill will interrupt vehicle charging without your permission.
Can I sell back electricity from my PEV battery through vehicle-to-grid technology?
This technology is not currently available. Automakers and utilities are currently investigating PEV-to-home and PEV-to-grid technologies. These technologies would enable PEV owners to use their cars as a source of electricity during a power outage or emergency, and it would enable customers to offer electricity back to the grid during periods of high electricity demand.
How do I charge my electric vehicle when I’m not at home? Where else can I charge my PEV?
If your vehicle is capable of charging at 120 volts, you will be able to plug your vehicle into any standard outlet for charging while away from home (assuming you can get permission to plug your vehicle from the outlet owner). If your vehicle must be charged at 240 volts, you will need to find a 240 volt charging arrangement.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have gasoline engines, so you can always buy gasoline as you ordinarily do to extend the range of your vehicle.
With battery electric vehicles, to avoid inconveniences you will want to fully charge your vehicle before you leave home, especially if the round trip you are taking is close to the range of the vehicle. If the trip is longer than the range of the vehicle you will need to plan where you will be able to recharge your vehicle.
Are there site specific recommendations for outdoor and indoor charging?
Charging equipment is weatherproof and can be placed outdoors, but it should be protected from damage. It is also recommended that EVSE be installed in a secure location to protect against vandalism. In addition, PEV buyers should check the manufacturer’s recommended operating and charging temperature range for the battery pack and site the EVSE accordingly. This applies to both indoor and outdoor locations.
Enclosed garages offer convenience, safety and security. Most single family residences will employ this option. Some of the factors to consider when planning an EVSE installation in an enclosed garage include:
- The EV charger should be placed where the cable will stretch the shortest distance, where the user can easily reach the charger handle, and where it does not block entry or exit. Therefore, check the location of the charging port on the car before planning the EVSE location.
- Avoid having the cords and cables cross areas with heavy foot traffic.
- If practical, use cable management to prevent accidents.
- EVSE must not be installed near explosive material; flammable vapors, liquids and gases; combustible dust or fibers; and materials that ignite spontaneously on contact with air. See NEC Articles 500 to 516 for more information.