Oregon Public Utility Commission authorizes up to $3.8 million to be spent in service area, including help for TriMet.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - PGE will build six elecgtric charging stations, among other things.Portland General Electric will spend up to $3.8 million on three pilot programs in metro area to increase electric vehicle travel.

The will include a pilot project with TriMet, an education and outreach program to promote the use of electric vehicles, and a proposal to build up to six additional utility-owned charging stations.

The spending was approved by the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) to accelerate transportation electrification within PGE's service territory. According to a Tuesday OPUC press release, under the programs, which will be capped at $3.8 million:

• PGE will install, own, and manage six electric bus charging stations for use by TriMet. PGE's participation will enable TriMet to utilize Federal Transit Administration grant funds to purchase enough electric vehicles to operate one entire bus route during peak service hours.

• PGE will implement a program to increase awareness of electric vehicles and the charging options to encourage widespread use by their utility customers.

• PGE will install and own six new charging stations within their service territory to help ensure electric vehicle users have access to reliable and accessible charging infrastructure. The availability of the charging infrastructure will encourage more individuals to consider going electric. Although the sites for the charging stations have not been determined, PGE will ensure geographic diversity and visibility to make the charging infrastructure available to low-income and multi-family housing.

"PGE's application was in response to Senate Bill (SB) 1547, where in 2016 the Oregon legislature adopted a state goal to increase the use of electricity for transportation," said Lisa Hardie, Commission Chair. "PGE's pilot programs will help meet the goals stated in SB 1547 to reduce our reliance on petroleum, improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon, and help meet Oregon's greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals."

The PUC regulates customer rates and services of the state's investor-owned electric, natural gas and telephone utilities, as well as select water companies. Its mission is to ensure Oregon utility customers have access to safe, reliable, and high quality utility services at just and reasonable rates, which is accomplished thorough analysis and independent decision-making conducted in an open and fair process.

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