SDG&E Electric Vehicle Charging Program Ran $25 Million Over Budget, Prompts Audit

Apr 17, 2021 | In the News

Source: KUSI News  |  By KUSI Newsroom

SDG&E’s electric vehicle charging pilot program, “Power Your Drive,” spent $25 million over the budget, prompting an audit from the California Public Utilities Commission.

While the company is now being instructed to investigate reasons for this overspending, SDG&E officials are not denying the figure, stating that the program was completely new.

The audit must be completed by an independent consultant before the Commission will approve another phase in the plan.

San Diego residents may be interested to know that the outstanding $25 million will not be repaid through ratepayers, but rather through their shareholder funds, according to Estela de Llanos, SDG&E’s vice president of Clean Transportation, Sustainability and chief environmental officer.

In recent years, the need to lay a network of electric vehicle charging ports across the state has become more pressing.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown established a goal of 5 million light-duty electric vehicles on Californian roads by 2030.

In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted an order to forbid the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.

“It’s important to have an audit and to have SDG&E pay for the audit because it’s not the fault of customers that they had the overrun, to find out what went wrong,” Mark Toney, Executive Director at TURN, The Utility Reform Network, said in an interview with KUSI’s Elizabeth Alvarez. “Still, there is no circumstance under which SDG&E should be able to collect the extra 25 million just because they didn’t stay in budget.”

De Llanos has claimed that they did their best to estimate costs at the start of the program, but fell short because there was no data on the project beforehand.

Dissenters are citing that Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, two other large investor-owned utility companies, have used less in creating their charging stations.

Toney encouraged SDG&E customers to urge their elected officials and the Commission know that the transportation sector should pay their fair share.

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