Expanding Louisiana's EV Charging Network
As more vehicle manufacturers commit to building more electric vehicles, Louisiana needs to start planning for how it will meet the charging demand of EV drivers. Building an EV charging network that works much the same way refueling your car with gasoline works today is attainable, but it will take legislative and regulatory changes to unleash the power of retailers to provide that “refueling” experience to EV drivers.
Charge Ahead Partnership (CAP) is a driving force committed to expanding the EV charging network in Louisiana. CAP is advocating for a competitive and level playing field for all retailers who want to provide publicly available electric charging stations in Louisiana. We believe that the fastest and most economical way to build out a robust charging network in Louisiana is through a competitive, market-based approach which removes the barriers that are disincentivizing private investment in electric charging infrastructure. We aim to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to find commonsense solutions that will unlock the market’s full potential without unfairly shifting the cost burden to non-EV users – particularly those in low- and fixed-income communities. Saddling electricity customers across Louisiana with more EV charging costs on their power bills is the last thing consumers need – especially when private sector businesses are willing to invest in EV charging. Policy changes are needed in order to unleash the free market and create a competitive business environment for EV charging.
The private sector is ready and willing to invest to help expand the EV charging network. The electric vehicle charging network should mirror the existing traditional fueling model to accommodate the inevitable growth in EV market share and drivers’ demands for quality, price competitiveness and accessibility. This can only be achieved if there is an equal playing field in the market where private companies can fairly compete with power companies in both rates and investments.
In April 2023 the Louisiana Public Service Commission took the necessary first step for private investment in Louisiana's EV charging market by ruling that EV charging station operators can resell electricity for EV charging without being regulated as an electric utility. This ensures that any business can invest in EV charging stations without being subject to LPSC utility rules and bring Louisiana policy in line with most other states across the country. While this is an excellent first step there is still work to be done!
Louisiana has the potential to become a leader in electric vehicles, however current EV charging regulations are holding back the growth of the charging network and, consequently, are suppressing EV ownership.
There are two main issues in Louisiana as it
relates to EV charging that CAP seeks to change:
- Initial investment in EV charging stations is expensive. Charging stations and the infrastructure upgrades required to support them require large upfront costs that public utilities are currently able to subsidize at the cost of all consumers. This practice of “rate-basing” allows for utility companies to raise rates on all of their consumers to pay for these investments. This forces all citizens, even those who do not drive EVs, to foot the bill for building and operating EV chargers. This is not an option for private companies, creating an economic barrier to entry to the market in addition to the regulatory one in place across the state.
- The current rate structure charged to commercial businesses that would offer EV chargers does not work for EV charging. Charging exorbitant “demand charges” to retailers and expecting them to pass those costs to the EV drivers – all the while the utility companies offering EV charging do not incur similar charges – makes competing with utility-owned and operated EV chargers impossible.
2022 Louisiana Legislative Session Update:
Charge Ahead Partnership was actively engaged in Louisiana’s 2022 Legislative Session. CAP supported Senate Bill 460, which passed and was signed by the Governor. The bill urged the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) to consider rates for EV charging that would promote private investment and rule that charging station providers can resell electricity for EV charging without being deemed a public utility. The LPSC has an since ruled that charging station operators can resell electricity without being regulated as a utility and there is an open rulemaking to consider the other issues.
Charge Ahead Partnership continues to monitor the LPSC proceedings and remains prepared to engage when future opportunities arise.
If you would like to join our efforts to ensure that Louisiana passes legislation that incentivizes the efficient and effective expansion of electric vehicle charging stations in Louisiana and across America, click here!
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