San Jose streamlines charging station rules

As the number of electric vehicles on San Jose streets swells, the city is offering residents a new way of getting permits for charging station installations.

San Jose introduced an online service for obtaining residential electric vehicle charging station permits that comes with a discounted fee, city officials announced today.

The service was introduced as the city experiences an uptick of interest among residents in securing the permit. San Jose issued 186 permits in fiscal year 2014-15, an increase of 56 percent from 2013-14, city officials said.

“We’re seeing a steady increase in permit applications for (the) charging stations,” Harry Freitas, director of San Jose’s Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, said in a statement.

Freitas explained that the installations require only a simple project, but the electrical work involved is what calls for a safety-ensuring permit and inspection.

In the past, residents were able to obtain permits by submitting an application at San Jose’s City Hall and paying a $222 fee.

Now residents can complete the process by visiting sjpermits.org and paying a discounted $182 fee, city officials said.

The fees cover the cost of a required city inspection that comes after the charging station is constructed, city officials said.

City officials said the new online feature is part of Smart City Vision, which was adopted by the City Council in late March with a goal of using technology to enhance services for residents.

The City Council billed it as an endeavor to make the city the most innovative nationwide by 2020.