1. Does the Utilities department rebate EVs or chargers? No. Rebates are not paid for EVs by the City of Palo Alto Utilities.
2. What do I need to know when purchasing my EV and installing a home charger? Installing an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging system often requires changes to building wiring and utility electric services to meet the needs of this specialized equipment. You should:
Talk to your EV manufacturer for information about what you need to charge your vehicle and what regulatory requirements there might be.
Be sure to use a licensed Electrical contractor whose license is current for electrical work. The contractor should also follow the guidelines of the manufacturer and the requirements of City of Palo Alto building codes.
3. What rates are available to me? All residential customers pay for their electricity at the E-1 rate, but CPAU currently has a pilot program called the Customer Connect program to install smart meters for a limited number of households and enable them to sign up for a time of use adjustment to their bill. Customers who opt to have the time of use adjustment applied to their bill will get a discount for using electricity at night and pay a premium for using electricity during the day. This adjustment can save you money if you have an electric vehicle you can charge at night or another electric load you can shift into the nighttime hours. Not all customers will save money with the time of use adjustment. If you use a lot of electricity during the day, you may do better with the regular rate. For more information, visit the Customer Connect website
4. Why is the Electric Utility concerned about your EV charger installation? Though an individual EV charger may have a negligible impact on the utility electric system, the combined effect of several chargers in the same area could result in overloads on utility secondary wires and transformers. It is crucial the City of Palo Alto Utilities is notified of any charging station installations to ensure that utility electrical system components are adequately sized to maintain high levels of service reliability.
The Utilities department needs information on location (address), type of charging equipment, charging level (asdefined by NEC, Article 625, see Table 1 below at the bottom), and number of chargers or electric vehicles being installed.
5. Where can I ask general Electric Vehicle charging station questions? Please contact the Building Department at (650) 329-2496 or Utilities Electrical Engineering at (650) 566-4500.
Building permits or planning issues: please call (650) 329-2189.
Table 1 – Electric Vehicle Charging Levels, National Electrical Code, Article 625
Maximum Current (A)
6.7 / 7.8
High Power, High Speed Charging – Defined by Manufacturer’s Requirements
Your City encourages the use of electric vehicles (EVs) along with other sustainable technologies as part of our progress towards being one of the greenest cities in the region.
The City has installed chargers at downtown garages (City Hall, Alma/High and Bryant). These chargers are available to the public for FREE.
A new "fast charger" has been installed by 350Green at the Stanford Shopping Center that can recharge your vehicle in under 30 minutes. Please be aware that this charging does have a cost. EV owners who would like to use the chargers at the Shopping Center will need to obtain a membership with 350Green, which charges $21 for three 30-minute charge sessions. Also, not all electric vehicles can use a fast charger, so check first.