The Alabama Public Service Commission has ruled that an entity who owns, operates, leases, or controls an electric vehicle charging station (EVCS) in Alabama is not a utility under the state public utility code. The ruling is based on its finding that EVCSs do not hold themselves out to the public as a utility that is ready and willing to serve any or all of their electricity needs, engage in supplying the public necessary services, and do not service all inhabitants within the area they operate. In this regard, EVCSs are not a natural monopoly or an enterprise in its nature dependent upon the grant of public privileges or so essential to the general public as to justify the grant of special franchises, the commission concluded. The commission also noted that it has long supported policies promotion of the growth of the EVCS sector specifically aimed at increased utilization of the electric system operated by the state’s largest electric utility, Alabama Power Company.  It said that it expected the utility to pursue EVCS pricing policies that promote increased system utilization in off-peak periods, while facilitating the development of a competitive EVCS market.  Re Commission’s Jurisdiction Over Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, Docket No. 32694, Jun. 22, 2018 (Ala.P.S.C.).

The Vermont Public Utility Commission has announced that it is opening an investigation into promoting the ownership and use of electric vehicles in Vermont. According to the commission the goal of the investigation is to identify and eliminate barriers to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, recognizing that the transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Vermont. In announcing the decision, the commission pointed out that Vermont has made significant progress in reducing GHG emissions in its production and consumption of electricity, but at the same time fossil-fuel emissions in Vermont continue to rise, due in large part to emissions from cars and trucks. The commission is requesting comments addressing the following issues:

  1. Removal or mitigation, as appropriate, of barriers to EV charging, including strategies such as time-of-use rates to reduce operating costs for current and future EV users without shifting costs to ratepayers who do not own or operate EVs;
  2. Strategies for managing the impact of EVs on an services provided by EVs to the electric transmission and distribution system;
  3. Electric system benefits and costs of EV charging, electric utility planning for EV charging, and rate design for EV charging; and
  4. The appropriate role of electric distribution utilities with respect to the deployment and operation of EV charging stations.

Re Ownership and Use of Electric Vehicles in the State of Vermont, Case No. 18-2660-INV, Jul. 9, 2018 (Vt.P.S.C.).

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