Edging off the tight money market for utility borrowing, the last few months have brought improved availability of funds from investors and capital markets, according to Jim Scilacci, Edison International executive vice president and chief financial officer. \u201cIt\u2019s encouraging overall,\u201d he said September 10 during a Barclay\u2019s financial conference. Both Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric gave presentations to the financial community this week. They agreed on two things, one being that managing electric vehicle charging is going to be a challenge. Second, they agreed that while \u201csmart\u201d meters offer information about energy usage to customers, it is questionable whether ratepayers will take advantage of that information. Scilacci estimated \u201csignificant\u201d growth in electricity consumption due to plug-in electric vehicles. \u201cOur challenge is getting those cars to charge off-peak.\u201d Otherwise, Southern California Edison, EI subsidiary, would have to consider \u201chow to design the distribution system\u201d to accommodate new plug-ins, depending on the penetration of electric vehicles. He added that if consumption can be moved to off-peak times, then new power plants won\u2019t have to be built. Managing the timing of consumption could be done through consumers\u2019 smart meters. The meters would \u201cset us up\u201d for when electric vehicles begin to flourish, said Chris Johns, PG&E president. At this point, despite installing 12,000 \u201csmart\u201d meters a day in PG&E territory, the company hasn\u2019t seen \u201ca lot of people\u201d opt into time-of-use (a.k.a. \u201cdynamic pricing\u201d) rates, he added. Edison\u2019s Scilacci echoed the concept. He said that the new meters provide a lot of information, but what are consumers to do with it? Edison International\u2019s chief executive officer Ted Craver, he said, is discussing options with companies like Google and Yahoo to determine how to shape meter information for customer use. Edison told the financial group that its future is investing in transmission. PG&E played up its power plant investments. New generation is a \u201chigher risk,\u201d Scilacci said. The utility is focusing on the transmission and reliability side of investments. \u201cTransmission is a big growth segment driven primarily by the need to interconnect renewables on the system.\u201d PG&E\u2019s Johns noted that its Colusa power plant is 60 percent complete for 650 MW at a cost of $673 million. To the west, replacements for the Humboldt Bay facility are in construction with 103 MW at a cost of $239 million. That plant is expected to be online in 2010.