What Are PURPA Amendments?
In November 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed Congress. The IIJA included Senator John Hickenlooper’s (D – Colorado) Responsibly and Equitably Change How Auto-charging Rates Get Evaluated (RECHARGE) Act. The RECHARGE Act amended the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) by asking state regulatory authorities who oversee electric utilities to consider standards regarding rates and strategies that will accelerate private investment in electric vehicle charging. The specific considerations are italicized below. This presents a prime opportunity to encourage state governments to adopt rate structures that address the challenge of demand charges and the advantages this will provide for consumers by allowing private investment to flourish.
States were required to open these proceedings by Nov. 15, 2022 and are required to complete their consideration by Nov. 15, 2023. It is important to note that the IIJA provides that the requirements for consideration and determination on the EVC standard do not apply if: (1) the state has implemented for the electric utility the standard (or a comparable standard); (2) the state regulatory authority for the state has conducted a proceeding to consider implementation of the standard (or a comparable standard) for the electric utility; or (3) the state legislature has voted on the implementation of the standard (or a comparable standard) for the electric utility during the three-year period ending on November 15, 2021.
(20) Demand-response practices
A. In general
Each electric utility shall promote the use of demand-response and demand flexibility practices by commercial, residential, and industrial consumers to reduce electricity consumption during periods of unusually high demand.
B. Rate recovery
a. In general
Each State regulatory authority shall consider establishing rate mechanisms allowing an electric utility with respect to which the State regulatory authority has ratemaking authority to timely recover the costs of promoting demand-response and demand flexibility practices in accordance with subparagraph (A).
b. Nonregulated electric utilities
A nonregulated electric utility may establish rate mechanisms for the timely recovery of the costs of promoting demand-response and demand flexibility practices in accordance with subparagraph (A).
(21) Electric vehicle charging programs
Each State shall consider measures to promote greater electrification of the transportation sector, including the establishment of rates that—
A. promote affordable and equitable electric vehicle charging options for residential, commercial, and public electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
B. improve the customer experience associated with electric vehicle charging, including by reducing charging times for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles;
C. accelerate third-party investment in electric vehicle charging for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles; and
D. appropriately recover the marginal costs of delivering electricity to electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The PURPA Amendments present an excellent opportunity to advocate for a wholesale rate for electricity used for EV charging that will help to mitigate demand charges and create the transparent pricing system necessary for a competitive EV charging market. CAP will look to submit comments in these proceedings. Members with activity in these states should also submit comments and consider participating or intervening in these proceedings. If you have any questions or need assistance as you craft your comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.