LADWP Unveils 22 New Publicly-Accessible EV Chargers at its Crenshaw Customer Service Center
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is on a mission to electrify L.A.’s transportation system. On April 1, the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners launched a pilot rebate program, which offers a rebate of up to $450 to LADWP customers who purchase a used electric vehicle (EV). The program incentivizes the purchase of EVs by making EV ownership more affordable. These efforts also support the state’s goals of putting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by 2025 and 5 million by 2030 and by reducing Green House Gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
In an exclusive interview with the Sentinel, LADWP Board of Water and Power, vice-president and commissioner William W. Funderburk, Jr. and commissioner Aura Vasquez, unveiled the new Crenshaw EV Charging Plaza, located in LADWP’s Crenshaw Customer Service Center parking lot. The charging station features 22 new EV chargers that contribute towards LADWP’s EV infrastructure goal of 10,000 publicly-accessible EV chargers throughout the city over the next five years. The chargers are available to motorists, free of charge.
“Here at ‘Charge up Crenshaw,’ we don’t charge anybody,” said commissioner Vasquez. “We have a series of EV chargers that can take—it’s very quick– up to 2 hours to charge up and we have two fast chargers that can take up to 20 minutes, so they’re super chargers.”
With Federal and State programs focused on new EVs, LADWP wanted to take action to make EVs more affordable locally where they can provide a direct, positive impact.
“Electric vehicles are our future,” said Funderburk, Jr. “One, the utility needs more load as people reduce electricity so fixed costs will force rates up unless we have more load. Number two, electric vehicles are used, are helpful to our balancing out our grid. We have more renewables on our grid and electric vehicles will allow us to price electricity so that people get [it] cheap when it’s not in demand and they’ll have to pay when it is, that’s the bottom line. But right now, what we are bringing to Crenshaw is free electricity. We are bringing free gas. This is free gas, all you need to do is get an electric vehicle or a plug in and it can be any type of plug in.”
The Used EV Rebate Pilot Program is open to all individuals residing permanently in LADWP’s service territory. Education and outreach about the program will target all customers, with a focus on low-income communities who often lack the access to environmentally-friendly EVs for participation in LADWP programs. The benefits of owning a used EV include lower mileage and maintenance costs for the owner as well as a reduction in local air pollution caused by traditional fuel vehicles.
“This is a cultural shift and Crenshaw is at ground zero,” said Funderburk, Jr.
In order to encourage more people to “go EV,” LADWP is working to increase the city’s EV infrastructure to combat “range anxiety”—the fear that EVs will run out of power before it reaches a charging-point.
“I think the important thing also is this is not just about Crenshaw, this is about the entire city,” said Funderburk, Jr. “When the entire city benefits, then Crenshaw benefits. Sometimes Crenshaw wasn’t getting its fair share, so when everybody … you know, it’s like a rising tide raises all ships, that’s all this is about. This isn’t about really ‘targeting’ some areas, sometimes you do have to target areas in order to do equity. Because when it looks like this and you need to make it look like that… and you’re not really taking away from people who ‘have,’ what you’re doing is giving, bringing people to the baseline, the people who ‘don’t have.’”
The Crenshaw Customer Service Center is one of six, LADWP-owned service stations that are being revitalized. The Crenshaw location is leading the way as the Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved a queuing system similar to the DMV. The goal is to turn the highly trafficked service center into a state-of-the-art facility that will ultimately serve as the template and model for all renovated LADWP Customer Service Centers across the city.
“This is for the community and we hope that this incentivizes this area to go more EV,” said Vasquez. “At DWP, we have some very exciting incentives for people like you and me—young people—maybe new parents, maybe new families that come together, maybe older people that want to save on their bill to go EV including a used EV rebate.”
Commissioner Funderburk, Jr. and Vasquez continue to serve vital roles in advocating and implementing equitable solutions. The Crenshaw Service Center revitalization and beautification is just the beginning. The Crenshaw Customer Service Center parking lot previously had two EV chargers before undergoing renovations at the end of 2017 through March of 2018 to increase the number of EV chargers to 22 chargers.
“Often-times the city struggles to really bring programs where there’s the most need,” said Vasquez. “At DWP, we want to lead the way by bringing more equity where it’s most needed. So, we know that in this neighborhood usually, folks wouldn’t have the opportunity to have a top of the line EV charging station and this is why we decided to do it here because we want this community to thrive. We want to be a good partner and therefore we believe that everybody should have the chance to get an EV and feel comfortable that they’re going to leave their home and they’re going to go to the store and they’re not going to be stranded in the middle of the road, but they are going to have a place in their community where they can really take advantage of renewables and EV. This is the equitable part that we are constantly [pushing] and commissioner Funderburk, Jr. has been a real lead on helping us really understand how we can make our programs more equitable and distribute in places where there’s the most need.”
In addition, LADWP is continuing to provide the Charge Up, LA! EV charger rebate program for residences, multi-family housing units and commercial properties. Visit www.ladwp.com/ev for details.
For more information on the used EV rebate, Los Angeles residents can visit www.ladwp.com/usedEVrebate, call (866) 484-0433 or email UsedEVRebate@ladwp.com.