Southern California Edison on May 31 received approval from state regulators to spend $356 million in ratepayer funds to expand electric vehicle charging for trucks, buses, forklifts and other industrial vehicles.

The state Public Utilities Commission approved the plan from SCE, a unit of Rosemead-based Edison International, to set up electric vehicle charging stations at sites of at least 870 customers by 2024, the utility said in a release announcing the approval.

The sites are expected to support about 8,500 medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles. At least 25 percent of the program’s infrastructure budget will be dedicated to vehicles operating at ports and warehouses in SCE’s territory.

“We’ve specifically tailored this plan to Southern California, where 40 percent of the goods entering the nation come through the region’s ports and travel over our highways,” Jill Anderson, SCE vice president for Customer Programs and Services, said in the announcement. “Electrifying the industrial and commercial vehicles that move those goods will eliminate the leading source of harmful air pollution in our communities.”

The program also gives participating customers the option to own, operate and maintain the infrastructure installed on their premises. Participants who choose this option will manage and pay for the installation of the customer-side infrastructure and will be eligible to receive a rebate for up to 80 percent of those costs.

All participating customers will be required to buy at least two electric vehicles or to convert at least two fossil-fuel vehicles to electric.

SCE will also offer time-of-use discounts to commercial customer participants to make electric vehicle charging more affordable during times of the day that benefit both customers and the grid.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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