By - Jim Vess

Maryland would have nation’s second largest EV charging network under $105 million plan

Energize Weekly, February 7, 2018

The Maryland Public Service Commission is reviewing a plan, proposed by the state’s utility companies, to create a statewide network of 24,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

The $105 million “Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio” would set up the second-largest charging network in the nation. California has the largest program.

Signing on to the proposal were not only the utilities—Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), Delmarva Power & Light, Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco) and Potomac Edison (PE)—but also EV charging companies such as ChargePoint and Greenlots, and environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Maryland is one of the eight states that signed the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Memorandum in 2013. The group is committed to having at least 3.3 million ZEVs on the road by 2025. The other states are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

In 2012, Maryland 609 EVs on the road, and that had grown to 9,400 by 2017. To reach the target of 300,000 vehicles by 2025, the proposal argued additional initiatives must be undertaken.

The cost of the program, which aims to develop smart charging stations in residential, non-residential and public settings, would be borne by ratepayers, amortized over five years and recovered via a surcharge rider on bills.

The proposal estimated “peak” monthly impact on bills is 35 cents for BGE; 42 cents for Pepco; 42 cents for Delmarva and 25 cents for PE.

“A targeted ratepayer investment facilitated by the utilities and made in conjunction with private market participants will seed the burgeoning Maryland EV landscape,” the proposal said.

An analysis in the proposal estimated that increased revenue from charging stations would help support utility operating and maintenance costs, helping to offset future rate increases.

The study calculated that the statewide annual benefits from the program in 2030 would be $94 for EV owners and $80 for utility customers. By 2050, the benefit to EV owners would grow to $339, while the benefit to utility customers drops to $58.

The support of the private charging companies is a marked departure from the controversy in California where ChargePoint opposed Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s plan to build 21,500 charging stations, saying it would create a monopoly.

The Maryland proposal states that it will “ensure that utility investment also fosters a competitive market and engagement of third-party vendors of EV supply equipment and services in a manner that supports continued growth of the broader EV charging industry.”

For example, in its plan, Pepco and Delmarva say they will seek agreements with established charging companies for reciprocal access to their charging stations.

“The electrification of the transportation sector presents real challenges for the State’s electric distribution system; however, if managed properly, it also offers real opportunities for private market participants, ratepayers, and the utility sector to act in concert and ensure that State policy objectives are realized,” the proposal said.

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