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California utilities seek $1 bln for vehicle electrification

Jan 23 (Reuters) - California's three biggest utilities plan to spend $1 billion to speed the electrification of vehicles, from transit buses to forklifts, in a statewide effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, regulatory filings show.

Utilities Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric filed their plans late last week with the California Public Utilities Commission, which must approve them.

The commission late last year directed the utilities to submit plans to spur vehicle electrification in their service areas. The state is aiming to meet Gov. Jerry Brown's ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, with a target of 4.2 million zero emissions vehicles on its roads.

The utilities are seeking to recover program costs from customers through rate hikes. Increased use of electric vehicles would also spur demand for the power they sell.

Southern California Edison plans to spend more than $570 million on measures that include installing charging infrastructure for trucks, buses and cranes, and monetary rewards for rideshare drivers who use electric vehicles.

Pacific Gas & Electric's $250 million proposal includes $22 million to speed development of stations that can charge an electric vehicle in 20 to 30 minutes.

San Diego Gas & Electric is proposing a $226 million five-year budget for 90,000 residential electric vehicle chargers, and an additional $18 million for other measures.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Richard Chang)