The Maryland Public Service Commission has authorized the implementation of a statewide electric vehicle pilot program. It reviewed and customized proposals made by Maryland’s four electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs): Baltimore Gas & Electric Company (BGE), Delmarva Power and Light Company (Delmarva), Potomac Edison Company (PE), and Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO). The commission reduced the scope and cost of the proposed activities and made specific findings regarding levels of rebates for installation of chargers and associated smart metering equipment required to employ innovative rates designs. The commission agreed with the utilities that pairing EV programs including charging with intelligent rate design can improve electric distribution system utilization and create downward pressure on rates through load management and system peak reduction. It also found that without more detailed cost effectiveness data, the utilities had not met their burden to justify the recovery of $104 million in cumulative program costs exclusively from ratepayers. The commission did find, however, that the anticipated benefits associated with an expanded EV infrastructure are potentially far-reaching to EV owners and non-EV owners alike and, thus, warrant approval of a smaller pilot study to test the concepts outlined in the utility proposals.
The commission also authorized the utilities to own and operate a limited number of public charging stations to “jumpstart the deployment of a public EV charging network, reduce EV owner range anxiety in the near term, and lay the foundation for a competitive market to develop in this space.” It directed the utilities to locate public EV charging equipment only at property leased, owned, or occupied by a unit of State, county, or municipal government for public use. Re Implementation of a Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio, Case No. 9478, Order No. 88997, Jan. 14, 2019 (Md.P.S.C.).