The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is set to begin hearings during the week of June 5 on the proposal submitted by American Electric Power of Ohio (AEP Ohio) for a variety of what would be rate-payer funded investments in plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging stations as part of a broader filing on grid modernization.
The PEV charging portion of AEP’s proposal is contained in testimony from Scott Osterholt. As proposed, AEP Ohio would invest about $8.1 million over four years with about $6.4 million for actual capital investments for 250 level 2 chargers at various locations, 25 DC fast chargers, and 1,000 residential chargers. AEP Ohio proposes to fully own all equipment, and be responsible for long-term operation and maintenance. The utility would develop a plan for placement of the chargers. Smart Columbus input would be integral to the plan, but AEP Ohio may choose to place infrastructure at various locations throughout their service territory.
Clean Fuels Ohio’s Executive Director, Sam Spofforth, submitted testimony in the case, and will appear as a witness on behalf of Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Environmental Law and Policy Center – all interveners in the proceeding. CFO’s involvement is supported by two private funders as part of Charge Up Midwest. In his testimony, Spofforth lays out the case for use of utility rate-payer funds for PEV charging infrastructure. Most notably, economic analyses have demonstrated clear net benefits for PEVs, driving down rates for all electricity customers as the PEV market grows since most charging will occur at home during off-peak hours. However, lack of sufficient charging stations is a significant market barrier to consumer PEV adoption.
The hearings during the week of June 5 will be the next step in the process. Additional steps and potentially complicated negotiations over several issues – most notably, the question of who should own the charging stations themselves – likely will last through the balance of 2017. Significantly, this is the first case of its kind heard by the PUCO. It would be the first program approved by a utility regulator anywhere in the Midwest. Clean Fuels Ohio believes that programs of this type are critical to advancing PEV adoption in Ohio and beyond.