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Maryland approves pared-down electric vehicle charging pilot

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Maryland approves pared-down electric vehicle charging pilot

Maryland regulators approved a plan for investor-owned utilities to install more than 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations as part of a five-year pilot program to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles in the state.

In an order released Jan. 14, the commission scaled back a proposal for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Delmarva Power & Light Co., Potomac Edison Co. and Potomac Electric Power Co. to invest about $104.7 million to install 24,000 electric vehicle chargers, calling it "overly broad and costly to ratepayers."

The more limited plan, which will include both public and private charging stations, will help utilities, regulators and the public understand "potential impacts and implications for the electric distribution grid, including reliability, load management, improved system efficiency, and whether a wider expansion of a ratepayer-funded EV charging network would be appropriate in the future," the commissioners said.

The original proposal, filed in January 2018, would have cost ratepayers an estimated 25 cents to 42 cents a month. Costs of the modified program are not yet known. Regulators directed utilities to seek recovery of EV charging program costs in future rate-case proceedings.

The program will allow the utilities to own and operate more than 900 public charging stations to spark deployment of a public electric vehicle charging network, reduce range anxiety in the near term and set the foundation for a competitive market for EV charging to develop, the commission said. The public chargers must be on property leased, owned or occupied by a unit of state, county or municipal government for public use, regulators said. Utilities will establish a new rate class that includes the public charging stations to ensure that customers who use them are covering part of the costs.

The decision marks a "significant step toward expanding electric vehicle adoption and reducing our harmful tailpipe emissions," Maryland PSC Chairman Jason Stanek said. Maryland has a goal of putting 300,000 zero-emission electric vehicles on its roadways by 2025.

In separate statements, Exelon Corp. subsidiaries Potomac Electric Power and Baltimore Gas & Electric said adoption of zero-emissions electric vehicles benefits everyone, not just EV owners.

"As drivers increasingly turn to EVs, the state has the opportunity to develop a more efficient electric grid, take steps to meet its clean air and Healthy Chesapeake Bay goals, and spur economic growth through the development of a regional charging network," the utilities said.

The commission also approved utilities' plans to provide rebates to customers for the costs of chargers with advanced functionality for private residences. The utilities are to develop a time-of-use rate design as part of the residential rebate offerings. The rebate incentive programs also target apartments and condominiums to give equitable access to EV charging for underserved multi-family and multi-unit dwellings, regulators said. (Maryland PSC Public Conference 44)