NH electric vehicle charging stations and utility status

Monday, January 11, 2016

As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, New Hampshire utility regulators have opened an investigation into the legal and regulatory issues implicated by the potential resale of electricity by electric vehicle charging stations.

On November 20, 2015, New Hampshire utility Liberty Utilities (Granite State Electric) Corp. d/b/a Liberty Utilities (Liberty) filed a tariff amendment to permit the resale of electricity for EVC stations, which the Public Utilities Commission docketed as Docket No. DE 15-489.  In a supporting technical statement, Liberty noted tariff language that currently prohibits the resale of electricity by most customers.  In Liberty's view, that prohibition forces owners and administrators of charging stations to charge in other manners, such as an hourly flat rate. 

On December 18, the Commission took two actions relating to the regulation of electric vehicle charging stations.  First, the Commission issued an Order of Notice announcing an investigation into the legal and regulatory issues implicated by the resale of electricity by electric vehicle charging stations.  The Commission made participation mandatory for the state's electric distribution utilities, and directed Commission staff to file a report by February 26, 2016, setting forth its conclusions and recommendations with respect to the sale of electricity to, and the resale of electricity by, EVC stations.  The Commission docketed this investigation as IR15-510.

Liberty pointed to "eighteen states that have adopted, through regulatory changes or legislation, exceptions for the resale of electricity for electric vehicle charging stations, including Maine and Massachusetts."  For example, a 2015 Maine law exempts an electric vehicle charging station provider from being considered a competitive electricity provider, and allows charging station providers to install an electrical submeter and to charge a submeter user only for kilowatt hours used,

Second, the Commission issued Order No. 25,852 in the Liberty docket on December 18, 2015, suspending the Liberty tariff amendment to permit Commission Staff (Staff) to complete the IR15-510 investigation.

Pursuant to the December 18 Order of Notice, legal memoranda are due from all electric distribution utilities and other interested persons on or before January 22, 2016.  Commission staff are scheduled to hold a stakeholder technical session on February 9, 2016. 

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