- The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) on Sept. 30 rejected most of National Grid's estimated $166.5 million Phase II electric vehicle proposal, which included 17,700 level 2 port and 300 direct current fast charging ports.
- Regulators want two years of analysis from the utility's Phase I EV program, which was approved in September 2018, so National Grid will not be able to re-file Phase II plan until 2021. The decision was a part of an order setting new rates for National Grid.
- DPU did allow National Grid to implement three aspects of its proposal, including a residential off-peak charging rebate, a fleet advisory services plan and co-location of fast charging with solar and/or energy storage, estimated to cost around $9 million.
Massachusetts regulators stressed they remain committed to clean transportation and emissions reductions goals, but said it was not necessary to immediately approve National Grid's plan.
"We are not persuaded that something less than a full approval of National Grid's proposal will negatively impact these goals," regulators said. "As the company gains experience from its Phase I EV Program and the limited portion of the Phase EV II Program granted in this proceeding, National Grid may file future EV proposals under the umbrella of the grid modernization proceeding."
Multiple parties raised concerns about the fast approval of National Grid's Phase II plan absent analysis of the first phase, including the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the state's Attorney General's office and the American Petroleum Institute (API), which some groups found troubling.
"The oil industry was in the mix, and it is important to note they have a broader strategic disinformation campaign," Samantha Houston, analyst for the Clean Vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who has written about oil industry disinformation techniques told Utility Dive. "They are clearly threatened that EVs could undermine their market share."
API's "deceptive behavior" included comparing National Grid's EV proposal to other utility plans using "nonsensical metrics," and "gloss[ing] over numerous factors about those cost metrics that render the comparisons meaningless," according to Houston's blog post.
"This fight will ramp up," she said.
API declined to comment.
Ultimately, DPU's order reduced National Grid's base revenue request by approximately $41.8 million, and decreased the utility's original requested increase of $132.2 million by 32%. National Grid's electric base distribution rates had not changed since 2016.
"The final result of this order will ensure Massachusetts continues to lead the way by investing and providing clean and reliable energy solutions to the ratepayer," DPU Chairman Matthew Nelson said in a statement, adding that the agency is "conscious of what every dollar means to customers."