- The Michigan Public Service Commission is considering developing pilot programs targeting electric vehicle deployment and infrastructure, passing an an order this week to take public comment on the concept.
- Topics of focus include rate design, including encouraging charging at off-peak times, electrical grid impacts, customer education and the role of the utility in infrastructure deployment, and how those costs would be recouped.
- The request for comments follows an August technical conference hosted by the PSC to develop areas of focus. Anyone may comment, but regulators say they expect to hear from utilities, auto manufacturers, environmental advocates and charging equipment companies. Comments will be due Nov. 17.
Michigan is moving deliberately on issues surrounding transportation electrification. In February, Consumers Energy withdrew a proposal to install 800 electric vehicle charging ports after regulators raised questions about how to pay for it.
Pulling the application led to the technical conference, and now the PSC is taking comment on whether utilities should "initiate a series of targeted pilot programs designed to further explore issues related to the deployment of PEV [plug-in electric vehicle] charging stations and associated infrastructure."
Rate design questions the commission is considering include the use of dynamic rates for public charging infrastructure, or other options to shift charging behavior; whether customers would need a second meter installed in order to be on an EV-specific rate; and the role of demand charges and the effect on EV charging infrastructure investment and usage.
Comments will also focus on "the potential grid impact of deployment of charging infrastructure/EV adoption at various distribution system locations."
And in determining how to pay for charging infrastructure, comments should also address the outlook for the competitive market for charging infrastructure, both nationally and in Michigan, and whether there are "global or localized market failures or barriers where it makes sense for regulated utilities to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure."
An August report by M.J. Bradley & Associates, commissioned by Charge Up Midwest, concluded electric vehicles could save Michigan consumers billions of dollars over the next three decades. Based on adoption rates, lower power bills could save utility customers between $800 million and $2.6 billion by 2050.