This model state law that would cause State PUCs to encourage electric utilities to support the development of the infrastructure needed to charge a dramatically increasing number of EVs.
The legislation directs the PUC to convene all the affected stakeholders – including among others, electric companies, third-party EV charging station providers and ratepayer representatives – in a collaborative technical conference to address the role that electric companies should play in the development of EV charging infrastructure. The model legislation details several issues to be addressed at such a conference, but leaves to the Commission’s discretion whether other issues also should be addressed. The model legislation further: (i) directs the PUC, at the conclusion of the conference, to prepare and issue for stakeholder comment draft guiding principles for the preparation of electric company plans (called “transportation electrification plans”) for their participation in the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, and (ii) identifies several issues the Commission must address in those guiding principles. (It should be noted that the principles to be issued are intended solely as guidance, not mandates, because in some states binding policies may be viewed as rules subject to formal rulemaking procedures.) After considering any comments received, the PUC must issue final guiding principles. The model legislation directs electric companies to then prepare and file their transportation electrification plans in accordance with the guiding principles, which the Commission is to consider and either approve or disapprove in accordance with its customary procedures.
The model legislation also addresses two other issues. First, it makes clear that persons or companies operating EV charging stations are providing a service, not selling electricity to the public, and are not thereby subjecting themselves to PUC jurisdiction. Second, the draft legislation seeks to address the particularly urgent need to assure the early deployment of direct current “fast chargers” along critical transportation corridors. It does so by directing the Commissioner of Transportation to identify such corridors, and requiring the electric company transportation electrification plans to give priority to the deployment of such charging stations along those corridors.