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Frequently Asked Questions

Charging Options

What are the available electric vehicle charging levels?

Most electric vehicles (EVs) will charge at one of three charging “levels.”

Charging Level Location Voltage PHEV Charge Time BEV Charge Time Description
Level 1 Residential 120 volts 3-7 Hours 9-20 Hours Vehicles plug directly into a typical 120‐volt outlet. Electrician should evaluate circuit to determine if upgrades or modifications to the property’s main electric panel or circuits are required.
Level 2 Residential, Public 240 volts 1-3 Hours 4-8 Hours Requires a charging station. Electrician should determine if upgrades or modifications to the property’s main electric panel or circuits are required.
DC Fast Charging Public 480 volts or higher 5-20 minutes (80% charge) 10-30 minutes (80% charge) Requires significant installation and electrical infrastructure upgrades.

Do all electric vehicles have a common plug?

The Society of Automotive Engineers has established a uniform “connector” standard (J1772) for Level 1 and Level 2 charging. Most electric vehicles currently on the market or due to launch over the next several years comply with this standard. DC fast charging connectors are available in several standards and will vary depending on the make and model you choose.

What is a charging station?

A charging station connects premises wiring to on-board EV battery chargers. This enables communication between the two to assure that current passed to the vehicle is both below the limits of premises electrical equipment and what the vehicle can receive. Charging stations also include safety lock-out functionality preventing current from flowing unless plugged and ordered by the vehicle.

How do EV drivers charge their vehicles when they are not at home?

It is important to understand that most EV charging occurs at home, unlike conventional vehicle fueling that requires frequent trips to the gas station.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have gasoline engines as well as electric motors, so you can utilize the gasoline engine to extend the range of your vehicle. With battery electric vehicles, to avoid inconveniences, you may 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 ahead where you will be able to recharge your vehicle.

You may find public charging stations in your area, by visiting the Department of Energy’s list of electric vehicle charging stations, or visit one of the many other web sites with maps and listings of charging stations.

Rates & Costs

What are my rate options?

Several electric rate options are available for residential customers. We encourage anyone who owns an EV, or has firm plans to purchase or lease an electric vehicle, to first start with our EV Rate Assistant. Second, call us at 1-800-4EV-INFO when you are ready to switch plans or have questions about the plan that best meets your needs.

If I sign up for an electric vehicle rate but decide I don’t like it, can I change my rate again?

Rate Change Requirement
Residential Time-of Use Plan (TOU-D) There is no initial minimum commitment period. Customers can move one time from one of the two rate options available under the plan to the other rate option. Customers may also move back to the Residential Plan. In either case, customers must remain on the rate they switched to after their initial selection for 12 months before they are eligible to change to another rate again.
Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-EV-1) You can change rates after receiving service on this rate for at least 12 consecutive months.

It depends upon your rate plan. Please reference the chart below for the meter charge.

Rate Charge
Residential Time-of-Use Plan (TOU-D-TEV) $0.93/month based on a 30 day month
Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-EV-1) $16.00/month based on a 30 day month

Note: Rates are effective January 1, 2015.

Are there special electric vehicle rate options for customers who have solar systems?

Electric vehicle owners with solar systems are eligible for the same rate options as all other electric vehicle customers.

Can a solar energy generating system be used to help pay for the cost of electricity used to charge 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.

How does paying for kilowatt hours compare to buying gasoline?

Electric vehicles usually operate at the equivalent of about $1 per gallon of gasoline or less, if recharged at the lowest non-peak rate.

How much will my monthly electric bill go up?

The incremental cost for charging an electric vehicle is different for everyone. The size of the increase will depend on your electricity rate plan, current monthly electrical use, amount of electric vehicle charging that occurs, and time the charging occurs for customers on a time-of-use-plan.

How much is a typical “fill-up”?

The cost to charge the battery depends on the size of the vehicle battery, the miles driven between charges, the electric rate plan, the time of day, and the time of year charging occurs. Electricity rates are higher in summer than in winter. Similarly, customers on a Time-of-Use rate will pay more for each unit of electricity (kWh) during daytime hours, when demand for electricity is at its greatest, than they will during evening hours.

Will I get 1 bill or 2?

If you are adding electric vehicle charging to your existing electrical load with a single meter, you will continue to receive one bill. If you have selected the Electric Vehicle Plan, your electric vehicle charging load will be separately metered and you may choose to receive either a single monthly statement or two separate bills (one for each meter).

How do electric vehicle drivers get billed for electricity when they plug in at a public charging station?

Some public charging station operators may require a payment for EV drivers to charge their vehicles. Access policies and pricing of charging services vary among operators and are not managed or regulated by SCE.

How do electric vehicle drivers get billed when they plug in at a friend’s house?

When an electric vehicle driver charges at a friend’s house, the electricity usage will appear on the friend’s bill.

What should I do if I want to turn off service to the Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-EV-1)? Is there a charge for cancelling this service?

There is no charge for canceling service. If you no longer want to receive service on this rate you will need to contact us at 1-800-4EV-INFO and request that the electric vehicle service be turned off.

Are there any rebates or incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle or installing charging equipment?

For links to resources, visit the Residential Customer Tools and Resources Page.


Can SCE install an electric vehicle charging circuit and charging equipment for me?

Unfortunately we do not provide, sell, or install charging equipment. A qualified electrician should be contacted to inspect your garage, upgrade your wiring and panel as needed, install any new equipment, and obtain required city permits and inspections.

Does SCE have a list of recommended manufacturers or installers?

Currently, the marketplace includes a broad array of charging station manufacturers and installers. While we do not offer specific company or product recommendations, our website has links to many organizations in the Residential Customer Tools and Resources Page.

What are the installation costs?

Charging equipment and installation costs will vary significantly according to the charging unit selected and any other equipment and electrical work required at your premises. Charger location and metering arrangements may also affect installation costs. Be sure to identify all your costs by working with a licensed electrician before making a decision.

Electrician FAQ

Should I provide a quote for every rate option the customer is considering?

We strongly suggest electricians provide customers with cost estimates for both single and two‐meter installations. Two estimates will allow the customer to compare the total cost and payback period for each rate option and make a final decision. Additionally, a significant percentage of SCE’s EV customers change their mind while preparing their home for an EV. They often call SCE to cancel their initial rate request to select one of SCE’s other available rate options. Initially providing the customer with two estimates will help ensure you do not have to make a second visit to prepare a second estimate for the customer. Providing two estimates during the initial visit eliminates delays and potential frustration if a customer changes his/her mind.

Does SCE charge customers to install a second meter or to replace an existing meter?

We do not charge customers to change a meter from one to another, if necessary, or to install a second meter. To support EV charging, however, a home may require electrical system modifications such as panel or wiring upgrades. The customer is responsible for the cost of these upgrades.

Are customers responsible for paying to upgrade the SCE infrastructure (transformer, service drop, etc.) that serves their home?

All residential customers are provided an allowance for any necessary upgrades to the SCE electrical infrastructure at their site. An SCE Service Planner can provide specific information about the allowance amount a customer may be eligible for and any additional costs the customer may incur.

Does SCE require the acquisition of any permits before electrical work can be completed?

We do not verify the acquisition of permits for home electrical system upgrades. However, local codes and regulations should be followed and city permits, if required, should be obtained before work is initiated.

Can I schedule an SCE Service Planner to participate in my assessment of the customer’s home to better understand the impact SCE’s Electrical Service Requirements (ESR) may have on my estimate?

We have studied this question and have concluded that it is not possible within the current EV process to coordinate the Service Planner’s participation in the electrician’s home assessment. SCE strongly recommends that the electrician become familiar with SCE’s Electric Service Requirements (ESR) before providing the customer an estimate and seek Service Planner approval, as necessary, before proceeding with the installation.

If I am only installing a dedicated circuit for EV charging, do I still need to get a city inspection?

Please check with your city for applicable requirements and procedures before initiating any electrical work.

Does SCE have any rules regarding where a second electrical panel or meter socket box can / cannot be installed?

Where at all possible, the second panel or meter socket box shall be placed at the same location and directly adjacent to existing metering. Examples of various panel configurations for second panels / meter socket boxes with both overhead and underground electric service can be found in SCE’s Electric Service Requirements in Chapter ESR‐1 “General Information”, Section 5.0 “Plug‐in Electric Vehicles.” Other relevant sections of the ESR may contain important information about requirements and should be reviewed. For example, ESR‐5 “Meters – EXO Installations”, Section 5.0 “Metering Equipment Installations” specifies, “The centerline of any meter socket shall not be more than 6’‐3" or less than 4 feet above the standing and working surface…,” as well as additional meter socket location requirements.

Are cities allowing customers to install 2nd panels?

Yes, but we suggest consulting with the local authority to determine any specific requirements.

Are 2nd panels required or can customers also install meter socket boxes and disconnect devices?

Customers can choose to install a meter socket box and a disconnect device, but SCE suggests consulting with the local authority to determine any specific requirements.

Does SCE require a certain size for the 2nd panel or meter socket box serving the 2nd meter?

Customers can choose the size for their 2nd panel or meter socket box, but they should consult with the local authority regarding any specific requirements. SCE has established maximum panel sizes for residential customers and minimum load requirements for available voltages specified in Tariff Rule 2.

Can SCE require the customer to move a new or upgraded panel, even after inspection, if the panel is not compliant with SCE's Electrical Service Requirements (ESR)?

Yes. However, it is SCE's goal to educate and work with you to keep this from happening. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with SCE's ESR.

Will SCE inspect a residence's electrical system?

When a customer selects a rate and panel option, SCE will evaluate the SCE infrastructure serving the customer. SCE will not inspect the electrical infrastructure on the customer’s side of the meter. However, if a second meter panel or meter socket box is going to be installed, a Service Planner will review the plans to ensure the installation follows the guidelines found in SCE’s Electrical Service Requirements (ESR).

Who is responsible for requesting an inspection?

Either the customer or the electrician may request an inspection from the city or other local authority having jurisdiction in these matters. SCE will not coordinate requests for inspection.

Is the customer able to receive a second service drop?

No, we provide only a single service line for all residential panel configurations, whether one or two panels are installed.

What are the major differences between available charging levels the customer can choose?

There are different EV charging levels or voltages, for you and your customer to consider. Higher voltage levels mean the vehicles “fuel” faster, but there may be associated equipment and infrastructure costs to consider.

  • Level 1 Charging — at this level, vehicles can charge on a typical 120‐volt outlet. Upgrades or modifications to the property’s main electrical infrastructure may not be required. There may be some costs associated with installing additional 120‐volt outlets and/or “dedicating” parking spaces for EV charging use.
  • Level 2 Charging — this level requires a 240‐volt charging station and may also involve making upgrades to the property’s electric panel or circuits.

Please remember you can always contact an SCE Home Fuel Advisor at 1‐800‐4EV‐INFO for any questions on these charging levels.

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