Vermont PUC opens electric vehicle investigation

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Vermont utility regulators have opened an investigation to identify and eliminate barriers to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in that state, following a legislative call in the state's general transportation bill for an examination of electric vehicle charging issues.

This spring, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law Act 158 (H.917) of the 2017-2018 Vermont legislative session. Section 25 of Act 158 requires the Vermont Public Utilities Commission to investigate and to prepare a written report concerning the charging of plug-in electric vehicles (EV).

On July 9, 2018, the Commission issued an order opening an investigation into promoting the ownership and use of electric vehicles in Vermont. In a press release accompanying the order, the Commission noted the harmful contributions of Vermont's transportation sector to greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change, and the prospect that electrifying transportation could help the state comply with its climate and greenhouse gas goals. The order notes that commonly cited barriers to widespread EV deployment may include vehicle range limits, limited availability of charging opportunities, cost, and vehicle performance -- and even barriers more unique to Vermont, such as cold winters and a rural, mountainous landscape.

The Commission says its investigation will include multiple cycles of written filings and workshops, addressing topics including barriers to EV adoption, as well as ways EV drivers can contribute financially to road and highway maintenance. The investigation will culminate in a report to be filed with the Vermont Legislature by July 1, 2019, presenting the Commission's analysis of barriers to electric vehicle adoption and recommendations on how to reduce or eliminate those barriers.

The Commission has docketed the case as No. 18-2660-INV, and has invited interested persons and entities to file a proposed scope, structure, and schedule for the case no later than July 30, 2018.

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