In addition to rate structure and competitiveness concerns, Nebraska is one of the few states in the country that does not currently allow for non-utilities to sell electricity by the kilowatt-hour for electric vehicle (EV) charging. Recently introduced legislation, Legislative Bill 1218, includes several provisions that will help to encourage private investment in Nebraska’s EV charging market. Crucially, the bill will allow charging station operators to sell electricity by the kilowatt-hour. Additionally, while this legislation would allow utilities to own and operate EV charging stations, it would also prevent utilities from doing so in close proximity to privately owned chargers. Furthermore, LB 1218 would establish a right of first refusal process for private entities to have the opportunity to serve certain areas before a utility does. Finally, this bill will help to level the playing field by establishing that any utility owned chargers must operate under the same rates available to all charging station operators in the utility’s service territory.
Charge Ahead Partnership first engaged in Nebraska in 2023 to raise concerns with Legislative Bill 505. LB 505 would have allowed EV charging operators to sell electricity for EV charging without being regulated as an electric utility, a necessity for private investment. However, this bill included concerning language which could have further encouraged utility rate-basing, keeping private investment out of the market and increasing costs for ratepayers. Ultimately, all language related to EV charging was stripped out of LB 505 while the bill was in committee.
While the ability to sell electricity is essential for private investment, in order for private entities to confidently invest in Nebraska’s EV charging market the other barriers to private investment must be addressed, namely unfair competition from electric utilities and demand charges. CAP hopes to see future legislation which will address these issues in tandem and create an environment for private investment to drive the creation of an EV charging network that best meets the needs of customers.