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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) and the Department of Building and Safety are working together to speed up the process of inspecting, installing and permitting meters for home-charging stations for electric vehicles.
The program will make it possible for the DWP to install and issue permits for the stations in seven days, provided the home’s electrical system is up to snuff.
“By streamlining the process of permitting, inspection and meter installation, the City of Los Angeles will make it easy and convenient for residents to own electric vehicles,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
The Wilshire, West Hollywood and Hollywood areas are likely to be beneficiaries of the new program.
“This area has a lot of early [electric vehicle] adopters,” said Yusef Robb, spokesperson for City Council President Eric Garcetti, 13th District. “It is the heart of the city and one of the most auto-dense areas in the city. We are looking to them to be leaders in this venture.”
With a new line of electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, hitting the market in December, the DWP and Department of Building and Safety have been hard at work upgrading the electrical infrastructure throughout the city.
They have upgraded 1,223 distribution transformers and replaced 479 power poles to address the increase in usage as a result of electric vehicle charging. They are also working to upgrade 300 charging stations in the next two years, as most existing stations are not compatible with newer electric vehicles. When consumers have their home charger installed, the DWP will then install the meter. Consumers will get a discounted rate depending on what type of meter they choose.
Those who choose to have a separate meter installed will also have a bill separate from their home’s electric bill. They will get an hourly 2.5 cents discount on all charging done during nights and weekends, or non-peak hours. Standard rates apply when charging during regular or peak hours.
Consumers who elect to switch out their current meter will have one bill for residential use. They will get a 2.5 cents discount on a 500-kilowatt-hour block for non-peak hour use.
Residents in the Hollywood and Wilshire areas have helped drive the installation of more charging stations, and more locations will be available soon.
“The city has installed chargers in parking lots across the city,” Robb said.
City officials are currently looking to install the charging stations at supermarkets, parks and other locations frequented by motorists, which will help promote the purchase of electric cars.
“These cars cut our dependence on oil and help the air quality,” Robb said. “We want people to feel that, in the city, electric cars are a viable means of transportation.”
The L.A. Auto Show is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center through Nov. 28, and numerous electric vehicles are being displayed. Villaraigosa and city officials are using the show to promote the city’s new programs, and representatives are available to answer questions.
“We are trying to go places where these early adopters are to spread the word,” Robb said.
Toyota-Scion of Hollywood has also promoted electric vehicles, and had two new generation electric chargers installed in early November.
“They were installed a few weeks ago,” said parts director Hasu Popat. “They also had a couple installed at Toyota of Santa Monica and there will be more added at other dealerships soon.”
Toyota was an early proponent of electric vehicles, as well as hybrids such as the Toyota Prius. The Toyota RAV 4 EV was developed 10 years ago, and Garcetti has owned one for several years. The Prius, one of the most popular hybrid vehicles on the market, will be Toyota’s next entry into the EV market. There is a model in the works that will use both conventional fueling and electric charging methods, but it is not due out for at least a couple of years.
Starting December 1, potential electric vehicle customers can call (800)DIAL-DWP to ask questions about electricity rates, incentives and the charger installation process. They can also schedule an assessment of their home’s capabilities to support a home car charger. The DWP will be conducting workshops with people interested in purchasing an electric vehicle starting in December.
Current electric vehicle owners can locate nearby charging stations by visiting www.socalev.org.
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