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Missouri approves 3-year, $6.6M electric vehicle charging program for Ameren

Missouri regulators approved more of Union Electric Co.'s plan to encourage the development of electric vehicle charging stations in its service territory.

The state Public Service Commission approved an agreement Oct. 17 to establish public, workplace and multifamily charging programs. The $6.6 million, three-year effort will start Jan. 1, 2020. Over the course of the plan, the utility expects to assist with 1,000 charging stations at more than 350 locations.

The Ameren Corp. subsidiary, which does business as Ameren Missouri, offered its "Charge Ahead" program in February 2018, under which it proposed to spend $11 million on incentives to stimulate development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and $7 million on incentives to encourage private companies to purchase electric-powered vehicles and equipment instead of equipment with internal combustion engines.

The Charge Ahead program had subprograms aimed at corridor, multifamily, public and workplace charging. Of these, the commission approved a $4.4 million pilot program in February to promote fast direct-current electric vehicle charging stations along highway corridors in the utility's service territory.

In August, Ameren Missouri, commission staff and the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel filed a stipulation and agreement with tariffs designed to allow the utility to pursue modified multifamily, public and workplace electric vehicle charging station incentive options.

Under the approved agreement, if Ameren Missouri shows positive results from the programs, it may renew them for another two years, the order said. The utility will have to record and report to regulators statistics such as the program participation level, the number of completed charging station projects and the estimated peak demand impacts of electric vehicle charging. Ameren Missouri also has to keep track of significant customer complaints, or lack of complaints, related to the program, the order said.

The commission said in a news release that the programs will be available as long as funds remain to existing or potential nonresidential customers or multifamily property owners, except for condominiums, that agree to install, own and operate qualifying electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Incentives are not available for customers in collections or with an active payment agreement with Ameren Missouri, the commission said.

As part of its highway corridor charging program, Ameren Missouri expects to open the first of 11 charging stations by the end of the year, with all stations complete by the end of 2020. (Missouri PSC Case No. ET-2018-0132)

Meanwhile, the commission has an ongoing working group looking into potential mechanisms to help develop electric vehicle charging stations. (Case No. EW-2019-0229)