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What's Happening In South Carolina

CAP supported South Carolina Senate Bill 684 during the 2023 legislative session and is doing so again in the 2024 session. This bill, would give private businesses the confidence to rationally invest in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the Palmetto State. SB 684 will lay the groundwork for a competitive EV charging market in South Carolina by prohibiting electric utilities from using ratepayer funds to subsidize EV charging stations. If passed, this legislation will still allow electric utilities to compete in this market, but only through a separate, unregulated subsidiary that operates under the same rates, terms and conditions as any other competitor in the market. Unfortunately, SB 684 did not receive a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2023 but remains active in the 2024 session.

Key Provisions of SB 684:

Requires any electric utility who owns and operates publicly available EV charging stations to do so through a separate, unregulated subsidiary subject to the same rates terms and conditions of private charging station providers

CAP has also been engaged in regulatory dockets before the South Carolina Public Service Commission, advocating for right-sizing the utility role in the EV charging market and for change that will open the door to private investment. In June of 2023 CAP submitted comments in Docket No. 2022-158-E which evaluated a Duke Energy Carolinas Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Program in which Duke would own chargers rented to operators. CAP's comments raised concerns about Duke’s entrance into the competitive market through this program and the potential impacts on South Carolina ratepayers.

CAP also submitted comments and reply comments to the commission in Docket No. 2023-121-E, a docket to identify the regulatory challenges and opportunities associated with the electrification of transportation. This docket included consideration of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) Amendments implemented by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). For more information on the PURPA Amendments, view the PURPA Amendments blog post. CAP’s comments encouraged the commission to adopt policies to drive the growth of the EV charging network by preventing unfair competition from electric utilities and addressing demand charges, two key barriers to private investment. The commission has not issued a final decision on either of these dockets.

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Your Voice Matters. This issue can’t wait – join today!

A change in public policy is needed to meet our country’s growing EV charging needs. To date, policies have largely been dictated by power companies. And the result has been great for utility companies but not for EV drivers and utility customers. To achieve a successful nationwide charging network, private businesses and consumers must have a seat at the table. It’s time that all stakeholders – from electricity consumers and EV drivers to transportation infrastructure businesses and related industries – be heard. Now is the time for us to charge ahead!