In certain states, electric utilities are getting into the business of installing and operating electric-car charging infrastructure.

They may build public charging stations, or work with other entities that operate them, but that's usually as far as their efforts to promote electric cars go.

But one California utility is now taking direct action to encourage its customers to use electric cars.

DON'T MISS: California approves PG&E utility plan for 7,500 electric-car charging stations (Dec 2016)

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) now offers a $500 "Clean Fuel Rebate" for customers with electric cars.

The program, which just launched yesterday, is the result of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which among other provisions, gives credits to utilities whose customers use home electricity to charge electric cars.

PG&E hopes to pass the value of those credits back to those customers, according to a company press release.

2017 Nissan Leaf

2017 Nissan Leaf

To be eligible, customers simply need an active PG&E residential account.

Customers can apply for a rebate for their own electric cars, or apply on behalf of an electric-car owner in their household (or a tenant, in multi-family households), after gaining that owner's permission.

Applicants need only a PG&E account number and a scanned image of the car's registration or sales/lease agreement, which can be be submitted through a web page set up for the program.

ALSO SEE: Test Pays BMW i3 Electric-Car Owners To Let Utility Delay Charging (Aug 2015)

Once approved, rebate checks will be mailed to their recipients.

The rebate program is likely one of the first examples of a large utility incentivizing the use of electric cars.

PG&E previously offered rebates to BMW i3 owners for charging at certain times of the day, but that was only a limited experiment meant to test ways of managing anticipated electricity demand from electric cars.

2017 Nissan Leaf

2017 Nissan Leaf

As well as the rebate program, PG&E received approval last month from California regulators to install 7,500 electric-car charging stations within its area of operations.

The project, which has an estimated cost of $130 million, was designed in concert with stakeholders, including environmental groups and automakers.

MORE: Should Utility Customers Pay For Electric-Car Charging Stations They Don't Use? (Feb 2016)

It is one of three charging-infrastructure projects currently being undertaken by California utilities.

Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) are involved in similar projects, expected to yield a combined 5,000 new charging stations.

[hat tips: Jack Brown, Bruce Hahne]


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