They may build public charging stations, or work with other entities that operate them, but that's usually as far as their efforts to promote electric cars go.
But one California utility is now taking direct action to encourage its customers to use electric cars.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) now offers a $500 "Clean Fuel Rebate" for customers with electric cars.
The program, which just launched yesterday, is the result of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which among other provisions, gives credits to utilities whose customers use home electricity to charge electric cars.
PG&E hopes to pass the value of those credits back to those customers, according to a company press release.
To be eligible, customers simply need an active PG&E residential account.
Customers can apply for a rebate for their own electric cars, or apply on behalf of an electric-car owner in their household (or a tenant, in multi-family households), after gaining that owner's permission.
Applicants need only a PG&E account number and a scanned image of the car's registration or sales/lease agreement, which can be be submitted through a web page set up for the program.
Once approved, rebate checks will be mailed to their recipients.
The rebate program is likely one of the first examples of a large utility incentivizing the use of electric cars.
PG&E previously offered rebates to BMW i3 owners for charging at certain times of the day, but that was only a limited experiment meant to test ways of managing anticipated electricity demand from electric cars. GreenCarReports.com