Industry advocates oppose legislation that would allow utility companies to pass off costs to ratepayers.
In advance of a hearing this week in the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on LIFT, the Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow's America Act (H.R. 2741), leading national petroleum and convenience industry groups NACS, PMAA, SIGMA and NATSO sent a joint letter to Committee members opposing a provision in the bill that would allow utility companies to fund Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure off the rate base.
The associations note in the letter allowing utilities to fund EV charging stations off the rate base will “simply extend their monopoly to EV charging infrastructure,” effectively precluding “private sector investment because there is no way for the private sector to compete with utility companies that have no capital costs. With a monopoly position, utilities would then be free to charge consumers higher than market costs for electricity, the associations said. Further, utility companies will never be able to "replicate the ubiquity and convenience of the private sector fueling market.”
During the hearing, a few lawmakers made concerning comments about the EV charging infrastructure provisions in the bill. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) spoke about the importance of providing tax credits and charging infrastructure to increase the uptake of EVs, specifically commending the utilities on expanding EV charging infrastructure in California. In addition, Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) spoke favorably about expanding EV charging infrastructure, saying the expansions will create jobs and make the economy more competitive while also reducing emissions. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), however, shared his concerns about the lifecycle of renewable energy and his support of innovation in fossil fuels.
Although the bill does not currently have any Republican cosponsors, many Republicans on the Committee spoke in favor of the legislation and shared their desire to advance a bipartisan bill. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) also indicated his hope that they would report a bipartisan bill.
During meetings with members of the Ohio Congressional delegation earlier this month, OPMCA spoke out against any proposed legislation that would provide federal incentives, investment and government preferences for alternative technologies, including electric vehicles and electric charging infrastructure. Read the association’s position statement on electric vehicles and alternative transportation technologies.