lundi 1 février 2010

EV Charging Stations: Are They Utilities or Are They Not?

The state’s big utilities are split on the issue. California’s PUC president seems to be siding with the companies that are building the charging station infrastructure. They --no surprise – would rather not be regulated as utilities.

With the first of the mass market EVs due to roll out later this year, companies that

are building the networks of charging stations to support them have been a source of regulatory contention in California – and it’s a safe bet it won’t be the only place.

The question is whether these charging stations should be treated as quasi-utilities from a regulatory standpoint. California’s three big utilities are split on the issue. The infrastructure companies that are in the middle of it all – such as Better Place and Coulomb Technologies – argue regulation could be stifling in terms of innovation and attracting investors.

The latest development is that California’s PUC president issued an interpretation of the law where he sides with the charging companies. According to a report in the New York Times, Michael Peevey wrote:

“Facilities that are solely used to provide electricity as a transportation fuel do not constitute ‘electric plant.' As such, the commission would not have regulatory authority regarding the price that an electric vehicle charging facility operator charges for charging services or other aspects of the operation of such facilities.”

But there’s more to come; the PUC chief invited utilities, automakers and the charging companies to weigh in on his interpretation – one of many issues related to EVs and grid integration that state regulators are racing to resolve. Don’t miss our just-released special issue (linked below) that covers many of these topics.

Smart Grid News, 29/01/10

From the source …

· New York Times

More from SGN …

· Special Issue: The ABCDs of EVs

· Electric Vehicle news and resources

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