• Transportation Efficiencies
  • Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment
  • EV Charging Infrastructure

Utilities, Regulators Push Forward on EV and Infrastructure Plans

Raquel Soat
May 03, 2018

Across America, utilities are beginning to take advantage of EVs as an electricity asset by investing in charging infrastructure. There is new motivation to install charging infrastructure as EV sales increased by over 20% in 2017 from 2016, despite overall vehicle sales decreasing. Business models for these charging programs and pilots vary widely, from rate-basing investments to leasing charging infrastructure and having a customer-owned and operated model. With several options, expanding infrastructure programs in all states is becoming more feasible, and many utilities are taking advantage of this momentum.

State by State, Charging Is Expanding

Baltimore Gas and Electric, Potomac Electric Power Company, Delmarva Power, and Potomac Edison Company have submitted a petition to spend $104 million to support charging infrastructure in Maryland. The program would build out 2,400 charging stations across Maryland in residential, workplace, and public charging areas. The Maryland Public Service Commission is expected to make a decision on the petition in the next few months. The state wants to expand the number of EVs on its roads to 300,000 by 2025, and these new proposed charging stations are a key step toward reaching its goal.

In Missouri, Ameren has proposed an $18 million charging program known as Charge Ahead that would install about 1,200 charging plugs (about 600 stations) in its territory. If approved, Ameren will partner with third-party charging companies to install the stations near interstate highway corridors, workplaces, multifamily housing, and other public areas. The chargers would be a mix of DC fast charging and Level 2. Prices for charging at these stations will be determined by the third-party operator.

Eversource was part of a rate case in the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, part of which passed on November 30, 2017. As part of the order, the utility received the green-light to invest $45 million in charging infrastructure, which will mean installation of around 4,000 Level 2 charging plugs at businesses and 67 DC fast charging stations along major roadways. Under this program, Eversource will cover the cost of installation and—in disadvantaged communities—it will offer a rebate for partial cost of the charger.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio recently approved American Electric Power’s (AEP’s) Electric Security Plan (ESP). The ESP allows AEP to expand access to EV charging and other renewable generation to ensure grid reliability. As part of the program and other partnerships, site owners will be able to apply to AEP to recoup a portion of their initial EV supply equipment construction costs.

Utilities in the Lead

Given the continuing EV market momentum and Volkswagen diesel-gate state settlement funding for charging infrastructure via Electrify America, utilities are well positioned to continue expanding charging infrastructure and offering educational support for prospective EV buyers. Increasing charging stations will decrease customer concerns around charging availability and range anxiety, leading to more EV sales nationwide. As new utility charging programs are announced monthly, it seems the trend of utility involvement in charging infrastructure installations will likely continue to quell consumer charging fears and prompt EV adoption.