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New York agencies propose shifting EV fast chargers to non-demand charges

Dive Brief:
  • The New York Power Authority and other state agencies have asked New York regulators to make changes to the rate structures of public electric vehicle DC fast charging stations to eliminate demand charges aimed at developing these stations.

  • According to NYPA, the stations' low utilization rates combined with the use of demand charges "renders any business model for DCFCs infeasible." Other state agencies joining NYPA on the proposal are: the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; New York State Department of Transportation; and the New York State Thruway Authority.

  • The New York agencies have also asked the Public Service Commission to direct direct utilities to develop broad plans to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, similar to proceedings opened in Oregon and California.

Dive Insight:

New York is aiming to have 800,000 electric vehicles on its roads by 2025. But with seven years left, the state has a ways to go with this year a "crucial inflection point," NYPA told the Public Service Commission.

At the end of November 2017, cumulative zero emission vehicles sold in New York was just over 30,000. In order for adoption to accelerate, the state must address consumers range anxiety; the proliferation of DC fast charging stations, which allow for rapid charging, is one way.

But because DC fast chargers are not highly utilized right now, combined with demand charges used in their tariffs, it is infeasible to develop a business model that would encourage growth. As a result, NYPA requested regulators "immediately shift all customer accounts for public direct current fast charging equipment" to non-demand metered rates, and to consider longer term rate modifications for DCFC that "align with their low load factors and sporadic usage."

Last year, Rocky Mountain Institute published research that concluded public chargers and demand charges simply didn't work together.

"Public chargers should not feature demand charges," Chris Nelder, a manager with RMI’s electricity practice, told Utility Dive. "There's no reason the utility can't recover the cost through that volumetric rate while still offering a DC fast charger a business case."

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