Spread of electric cars sparks fights for control over charging

By Rebecca Elliott | Wall Street Journal

Electric vehicles are widely seen as the automobile industry’s future, but a battle is unfolding in states across America over who should control the charging stations that could gradually replace fuel pumps.

From Exelon Corp. to Southern California Edison, utilities have sought regulatory approval to invest millions of dollars in upgrading their infrastructure to prepare for charging and, in some cases, to own and operate chargers.

The proposals are sparking concerns from consumer advocates about higher electric rates and oil companies about subsidizing rivals. They are also drawing opposition from startups that say the successors to gas stations should be open to private-sector competition, not controlled by monopoly utilities.

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