There are many ways for states to support increased transportation electrification. In Part One of this State Bulletin series, we looked at the need for state action and steps states can take in the legislature and at government agencies. State utility regulators are also key stakeholders, as we’ll explore further in Part Two.
Utilities have the opportunity to play an outsized role in the electric vehicle revolution, but their involvement is the subject of heated debate, and regulators have the responsibility of ensuring the program design is appropriate.
A new report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory grapples with some of the tough questions facing utility commissions, such as: What roles should utilities versus competitive providers play in accelerating deployment of EV infrastructure? What types of utility infrastructure will be needed to serve EV users, who should pay for it, and how will utilities recover their fixed costs? What incentives should EV customers face to encourage right-time charging and discharging?
Part of the report is focused on “what's in the regulatory toolbox,” said Philip Jones, executive director of the Alliance for Transportation Electrification and report co-author. His section examines what commissions can do on EVs under existing regulatory authorities and how commissioners' staffs can be more proactive in addressing the coming EV wave, “because we really believe it's coming more quickly than you think,” he said.
This week’s column looks at the utility role in providing EV charging and regulatory tools available to guide the process. In Part Three, we’ll take a closer look at what some utilities are already doing to encourage — and take advantage of — EV adoption.