PUCO PowerForward Report Includes Significant Electric Vehicle Focus: Chairman Haque and Others Will

On August 29, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) released its long-anticipated report, “PowerForward: A Roadmap to Ohio’s Electricity Future.” It’s now available for download. Launched in April 2017 and concluding in March 2018, PowerForward (PF) focused on a wide variety of new technologies and innovative regulatory approaches to help modernize the electricity grid and improve experience and service for all types of utility customers. Electric vehicles (EVs) became a significant focus for the Commission in the third phase of the initiative at proceedings this past March.

“This Roadmap is bold, and we see it as our duty to chart a path forward for Ohio,” stated PUCO Chairman Asim Z. Haque. “Through PowerForward we express a vision that will allow the state to pursue grid modernization responsibly.”

“Release of this Roadmap is an important step in a continuing process,” said Sam Spofforth, Executive Director, Clean Fuels Ohio. “We’re pleased that the Commission has now formally recognized the powerfully positive role that EVs must play in a modernized grid, and the important roles that utilities need to play to achieve favorable results for all utility customers. We look forward to continuing to work with the PUCO, Ohio’s investor-owned utilities and other stakeholders.”

The Midwest Green Fleets Forum and Expo will provide a well-timed opportunity to explore these issues and next steps on EVs for utilities, policy-makers and consumers. Asim Z. Haque, Chairman of the PUCO, will deliver remarks at the opening plenary session on Tuesday, March 25. Then immediately following that session, Phil Jones, Executive Director of the Alliance for Transportation Electrification, will moderate a panel to explore utility EV programs and policies at all levels of government in greater depth. Now that AEP Ohio has launched its PUCO-approved EV program, attention also will turn to what steps other Ohio and Midwestern utilities intend to take.

Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO), along with partners in the Charge Up Midwest coalition, played a significant role in the day-long EV proceeding that took place on March 7. Specifically, CFO helped identify numerous speakers for the March 7 session, helped the PUCO frame the agenda, and presented testimony in-person.

The Roadmap is not designed to be a detailed blueprint for utility EV programs or policy. However, it includes significant framing on the appropriate roles for the Commission and utilities. On page 20, the report states:

“Due to the Commission’s supervisory role over the electric distribution system of the EDUs, the Commission believes that grid modernization plans developed by the EDUs must address how the existing distribution grid will adapt to meet the anticipated energy and power needs of EVs,

so that the societal benefits associated with EV charging can be maximized. First, EDUs will need to assess how they will meet the demand associated with the growth of residential charging stations. Second, the EDUs must address the need for both urban and corridor travel charging stations.”

The Roadmap further suggests that “EV charging stations should operate within the sphere of a competitive marketplace, especially for home and private business charging,” while also allowing for “limited EDU (investor-owned utility) participation in the development of EV charging infrastructure.”

Finally, the Roadmap specifically addresses the needs and challenges of development of DC fast charging, especially along corridors. While indicating that the PUCO is not in position to determine specific locations, the report calls for a collaborative regional approach to identify desirable sites for DC fast charging. It suggests that the “Commission could be a facilitator in allowing utility involvement in foundational infrastructure for these corridors.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with Commissioners, staff and a wide range of stakeholders, including regional planning commissions, Ohio EPA and industry partners to advance EV infrastructure development and critical enabling policy,” said Spofforth. “The Midwest Green Fleets Forum and Expo will provide a good opportunity in the near term to further discussion and collaboration.”

Click here to learn more about EV-related and other agenda, and to register to attend the Midwest Green Fleets Forum and Expo,

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