Industry Pulls Opposition to Electric Charger Training Bill
The legislation is designed to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure in underserved communities as well as create a new program within the California Energy Commission to fund school upgrades through electric ratepayer-funded energy efficiency efforts.
Groups like the Electric Vehicle Charging Association (EVCA) and ChargePoint, a charging infrastructure supplier, were able to work through concerns about Assembly Bill 841. The legislation is designed to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure in underserved communities as well as create a new program within the California Energy Commission (CEC) to fund school upgrades through electric ratepayer-funded energy efficiency efforts. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, also contains provisions related to training certifications for electric vehicle infrastructure installers.
Charging infrastructure leaders like EVCA found the requirements well intentioned, but they faulted requirements related to electricians’ compliance with the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP), a trademarked curriculum, which industry officials originally described as lacking proper oversight. They also argued that the requirements would impose a significant burden on electrical installers in rural areas outside of the Bay Area or Los Angeles, who would have less access to the training program.
“Our position is that if the state is going to mandate EVITP for training content on EV charging, then we would like government oversight of the program to ensure the curriculum is up to date and inclusive of higher speed technology; available statewide including north of Sacramento and in the Inland Empire; available online and quickly to avoid slowing down installations when the bill goes into effect; and affordable to all participants,” wrote Anne Smart, vice president of public policy at ChargePoint, in an email to Government Technology in August before the bill was amended.
Negotiations among the parties and Ting’s office led to changes to the bill that would place more state oversight over the program, allow third parties to provide required training, open up more training opportunities in other parts of the state, and delay the requirement for a year.
Of the more than 30,000 state-certified general electricians in California, most have the skills to install charging infrastructure, say industry officials. However, only about 1,400 of them have been certified through the EVITP.
The changes come as the state is set to rapidly expand its EV charging infrastructure with the announcement by Southern California Edison to invest $417.5 million toward deploying charging infrastructure across its service area.
The move, which will install thousands of charging spots in the southern third of the state, will add to employment opportunities for electricians and other workers affiliated with EV charging infrastructure, as well as greatly add to the overall charging network.
This story first appeared in Government Technology, Techwire’s sister publication.