- Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) expects the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in its service territory will more than double over the next two years, and is working to roll out a new transportation electrification program in the spring, the company said last week.
- There are currently about 3,800 EVs in the areas PNM serves, but the utility is planning for 7,800 by the end of 2023, according to Alaric Babej, the utility's manager of customer program marketing and development.
- The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved PNM's $9.1 million transportation electrification program in November. It includes incentives for charging infrastructure and multiple new rates for commercial and residential customers.
PNM is working quickly to put its transportation electrification program in place, and the first steps are fundamental.
"I'm currently the only member of the transportation electrification team here," said Babej. "So as soon as we got approval ... one of my biggest priorities was getting ready to bring on some of the internal employees."
The utility plans to hire two new employees dedicated to the program. Along with staffing, Babej said the utility is also working to get metering and billing systems in place so that customers can be enrolled, and to procure third party support for program administration and other tasks through upcoming requests for proposals.
"We think that by the late spring of 2022, we should be able to roll [the program] out to our customers," Babej said.
The program includes $500 incentives for 3,900 customers to install level 2 residential chargers, with more funds available for low and moderate-income customers to cover up to $2,000 of costs. There is also up to $25,000 per station available to install roughly 70 public DC fast chargers, and incentives for other level 2 public, fleet, workplace and multifamily chargers.
A whole-home EV rate, available to a maximum of 4,900 homes, will allow customers to charge their vehicles from 10 P.M. to 5 A.M. for about $0.03/kWh. A pilot non-residential rate developed for charging stations will be based on energy sales and will have on-peak and off-peak periods to incentivize more efficient use of the grid.
The time-of-use rates will allow PNM to nudge customer charging away from peak times, said Babej, "rather than doing an active managed charging program, which would require a larger administrative lift."
PNM will be turning to third parties for assistance with a few things, including processing customer incentive funding checks, customer engagement, and assisting with program administration.
And the utility is considering developing an online marketplace, where customers could see qualified chargers, incentives and rates, said Babej.
Regulators approved the budget of $9.1 million but the utility also has some "flexibility," he said, and could wind up spending up to $11.4 million if there is more customer demand for some programs than expected.
"If one category is more popular, we don't want to cannibalize other pieces of the program that may just take longer for customers to adopt," Babej said. " And so we'll use that budget flexibility to fill in the gaps."
Regulators approved the program on Nov. 10, 2021. More than a quarter of the program's total budget will be aimed at low- and moderate-income customers, the utility said.
“These programs are a positive first step to helping New Mexico’s families and low-income customers access EV charging," Cara Lynch, attorney for the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, and Prosperity Works, said in a statement.
New Mexico is "making big strides toward an all-electric transportation future," Aaron Kressig, transportation electrification manager at Western Resource Advocates, said in a statement. "Lack of access to charging infrastructure continues to be one of the biggest barriers to widespread EV adoption."