Charge Ahead Partnership is advocating for a competitive and level playing field for all retailers who want to provide publicly available electric vehicle charging stations in Minnesota. The most equitable, economic and practical way to build out a charging network in Minnesota is through a market-based approach which removes the barriers that are disincentivizing private investment in EV charging infrastructure. We work collaboratively with all stakeholders on commonsense solutions that unlock the market’s full potential without unfairly shifting the cost burden to non-EV users – particularly those in low- and fixed-income communities.
Currently, electric utilities have an edge over private investors looking to enter the EV charging market. Electric utilities have begun utilizing rate-basing to cover the installation and development costs of EV charging stations. Rate-basing allows power companies to transfer the cost for the installation of charging infrastructure to all of their utility consumers on their monthly electric bill, while the vast majority of their customers do not currently drive an EV and will not benefit from EV charging stations. Furthermore, rate-basing allows power companies to sell electricity for private EV charging stations at unprofitable rates by spreading the cost of this loss to all of their customers. This gives electric utilities a tremendous advantage over private companies who want to make investments in EV charging stations, and demonstrates ideals directly contrary to the free market principles that exist in every other growing industry.
The lack of private investment in charging infrastructure only furthers one of consumers’ major concerns regarding EVs: Range anxiety, which is the fear of not having access to a charging station. When Americans drive gas-powered cars there is little concern about finding gas to refill when traveling or running errands. It is a different story for EV drivers. Charging networks can and should mirror existing fuel networks, a reality made difficult by barriers to private investment.
Minnesotans deserve access to a reliable, convenient and efficient EV charging network that meets both the needs of consumers and the market. Legislative action is required by the Minnesota Legislature to overcome these hurdles to private investment and make this network a reality.
Oppose Minnesota HF 413 and SF 1296!
Minnesota HF 413 and Minnesota SF 1296 contain extremely concerning language regarding the capabilities of electric utilities to rate-base chargers. HF 413 and SF 1296 require that utilities submit transportation electrification plans every three years, which can include utility owned chargers. What’s worse, this legislation would enable utilities to recoup the costs of the installation and operation of their EV chargers by spreading the costs to their existing electric customers. While electric utilities would still be required to submit their plans to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for approval, these bills not only condone utility ownership of EV chargers, but also provide the legislative authority to rate-base the construction and operation of these chargers. The Minnesota Legislature is currently considering these bills. We encourage all CAP members with operations in Minnesota to reach out to their legislators and express their strong opposition to these bills. HF 413 is currently in the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee and SF 1296 is currently in the Senate Transportation Committee.