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Frequently Asked Questions

Charging Options

What are the available electric car charging levels?

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

Charging Level Application Voltage PHEV Charge Time BEV Charge Time Description
Level I Residential, Commercial 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 II Residential, Commercial 240 volts 1-3 Hours 4-8 Hours Requires a 240‐volt charging station. Electrician should evaluate circuit to determine if upgrades or modifications to the property’s main electric panel or circuits are required.
DC Fast Charging Commercial 480 volts or higher 5-20 minutes (80% charge) 10-30 minutes (80% charge) Requires significant installation and electrical infrastructure upgrades.
Will all electric vehicles have a common plug?

The Society of Automotive Engineers has established a uniform “connector” standard (J1772) for Level I and II charging. Most electric cars currently on the market or due to launch over the next several years comply with this standard. A nationwide standard for a DC fast charging plug is currently under development.

What is an EVSE?

EVSE is an abbreviation for “Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment.” EVSEs connect 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 car can receive. EVSEs also include safety lock-out functionality preventing current from flowing from the EVSE until the plug is physically inserted into the car.

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

If your vehicle is fully charged when you leave home you will minimize the need to charge away from home. You can charge your vehicle in a 120 volt outlet. If you need to charge your vehicle more quickly you will need to locate a 240-volt public or work place charging 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.

To find public charging stations in your area, you can visit the Department of Energy’s list of electric car charging stations, or visit one of the many other Web sites with maps and listings of charging stations.

I’ve seen some public charging sites for electric vehicles—can I use these?

Yes, as long as both the charging plug and your vehicle are J1772 compatible. Some public charging sites are equipped with charging devices specifically designed for certain older types of electric vehicles. These sites may eventually be upgraded to charge newer electric cars.

To find public charging stations in your area, you can visit the Department of Energy’s list of electric car charging stations, or visit one of the many other Web sites with maps and listings of charging stations.

Where are public charging stations located?

To find public charging stations in your area, you can visit the Department of Energy’s list of electric car charging stations, or visit one of the many other websites with maps and listings of charging stations.

Rates & Costs

What are my rate options?

Electric car rate options are available for residential customers and non-residential customers.

Is there a monthly charge associated with the meter you use to track the electricity used by my electric car?

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

Rate Charge
Home & Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-D-TEV) $0.03 / day
Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-EV-1) No charge
TOU-EV-3 $0.75 / day
TOU-EV-4 $134.02 / month

Note: Rates are effective October, 2012.

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

If you elect the Home & Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-D-TEV), you are not required to remain on that rate for a specific time frame.  If after 3 months for example, you determine the rate is not satisfactory, you can select another rate option.  You cannot however return to the EV rate for a period of 12 months.  For the remaining 3 EV rates, see change requirements below:

Rate Change Requirement
Home & Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-D-TEV) You can select a different rate at any time, but you will not be able to make an additional rate change for 12 months.
Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-EV-1) You can change rates after receiving service on this rate for at least 12 consecutive months. You will not be able to change back to this rate for a period of 12 months.
TOU-EV-3 You can change rates after receiving service on this rate for at least 12 consecutive months. You will not be able to change back to this rate for a period of 12 months.
TOU-EV-4 You can change rates after receiving service on this rate for at least 12 consecutive months. You will not be able to change back to this rate for a period of 12 months.
Are there special electric car rate options for customers who have solar energy generating systems?

No, but electric car owners with solar energy generating systems are eligible for the same rate options as all other electric car customers.
 
Important Information for Customers Using or Considering Solar Power:
By regulation, a photovoltaic (PV) array may be connected to a single meter only.  If you wish to use solar energy for your home and electric car charging needs, consider selecting a rate that uses only one meter: either a Residential Plan or the Home & Electric Vehicle Plan.

 

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?

According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles operate at the equivalent of 75¢ per gallon of gasoline.

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.

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 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 car charging to your existing electrical load, you will continue to receive 1 bill. If you have selected a rate that requires your added electric car charging load to be separately metered (TOU-EV-1, TOU-EV-3, or TOU-EV-4), you can choose to receive a summary bill (2 meters/rates on one statement) or 2 separate bills (one for each meter).

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

Public charging station owners can determine whether or not they will charge their customers for electricity used to charge electric vehicles. Policies, charges, and cost recovery systems may vary from station to station and are not managed or regulated by SCE.

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

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

Do the Electric Vehicle plan (TOU-EV-1) and separately metered non-residential electric-vehicle rates (TOU-EV-3, TOU-EV-4) apply to only electric vehicles?

Yes. These rates are restricted to electric car charging. No other additional electrical load can be metered on these rates.

What should I do if I want to turn off service to the Electric Vehicle Plan (TOU-EV-1) or separately metered non-residential EV rates (TOU-EV-3, TOU-EV-4)? Is there a charge for cancelling this service?

There is no charge for canceling service. If you no longer want to receive service on these rates you will need to contact us and request that the electric vehicle service be turned off. If you are a residential customer you can call 1-800-4EV-INFO.  A non-residential customer should contact their Account Representative or call 1-800-990-7788.

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

You may qualify for several available federal, state and local funding opportunities or incentives that support the adoption of electric vehicles. (We do not offer rebates or incentives for electric cars and/or infrastructure.) For links to resources, visit the Residential Customer Tools and Resources Page, or the Business Customer Tools and Resources page.

Installation

What do I have to do to get ready to charge an electric vehicle?

We encourage anyone thinking about charging an electric vehicle to call us. Residential customers should call 1-800-4EV-INFO and Business customers should contact their account representative or call 1-800-990-7788. The processes we will help you navigate are described below.

Residential customers who want to charge a vehicle at home should take the following steps:

1. Call a Home Fuel Advisor™ at 1-800-4EV-INFO to request an EV Power PlanSM. Our representative will ask you for detailed information pertaining to car type and driving habits. We will then look at your historical usage, estimate the load associated with charging an electric vehicle, and provide an EV Power PlanSM that will identify the annual cost estimates for each of the available electric car rate options. Ideally you’ll call us before you take delivery of your vehicle so that you’ll have time to fully prepare.

2. Have an EVSE installer or electrical contractor visit your home. The electrician should provide a quote for any work that may need to be done to enable you to offer electric car charging for each rate option presented in your EV Power PlanSM. This work could include installing charging equipment, upgrading your current electrical panel, adding a second electrical panel, etc. After reviewing the quote from the electrician, you can determine which rate and panel choice you would like to move forward with.

3. Call a SCE Home Fuel AdvisorSM at 1-800-4EV-INFO and indicate which rate you would like to select, as well as if there is any home electrical work that you will be doing (“I will be using my existing electrical panel”, “I will be upgrading my existing electrical panel”, “I will be adding a 2nd electrical panel”, etc.). We will send a service planner to check the infrastructure in your neighborhood. You will receive a confirmation email within 3 to 5 days, to let you know it is safe to begin charging your car and for your electrician to install the charging equipment.

4. Authorize your electrician to complete any necessary work. He or she will contact the city to request a permit and an inspection, as applicable. The inspector will send a copy of the completed inspection notice to us. If you have requested to enroll in a rate that requires the installation of a second meter, we will install the second meter once the inspection notice is received.

Non-residential customers who want to install electric car charging equipment at their site should contact their Account Representative or call 1-800-990-7788. We want to help you meet your business’ charging objectives. To assist you, we can:

1. Advise you about the proper metering equipment needed, along with any upgraded electrical service work necessary to accommodate your charging requirements.

2. Review your charging plans for compliance with our electrical service requirements to help you seamlessly integrate charging into your daily operations.

3. Provide a customized rate analysis to help you determine the most cost-effective eligible rate plan for your business. We also can assess your energy management program and assist you in making decisions to help you minimize the impact of electric car charging on your bottom line, such as through incentives to improve your entire facility’s energy efficiency. 

Can you install a plug-in electric car charging circuit and charging equipment for me?

We do not provide, sell, or install charging equipment or its associated infrastructure.  An Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) installer or qualified electrician should be contacted to inspect your site, 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 (also called Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, or EVSE) manufacturers and installers. While we do not offer specific company or product recommendations, our website links to lists of companies that do this work. For links to companies in this market, visit the Residential Customer Tools and Resources Page, or the Business Customer Tools and Resources page.

What are the installation costs?

Charging equipment and installation costs will vary according to the make and model of the charging unit selected and any other equipment and electrical work required. Charger location and metering arrangements may also affect installation costs. Discuss the cost impact of various charger options with your electrician before making a decision.