NATSO along with the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) are encouraging lawmakers to support private investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to reconsider a provision of the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s (LIFT) America Act (H.R.2741) that would allow public utilities to use rate payer dollars to invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
In a letter sent to Congressmen Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the groups said that allowing public utilities to unfairly compete against the private sector by utilizing rate payer dollars to invest in EV infrastructure will effectively destroy the incentive for private sector investment. Such a practice also would unfairly places the burden for infrastructure developments onto the shoulders of low-income Americans.
NATSO, NACS, PMAA, and SIGMA believe private sector involvement in the installation of electric vehicle charging stations is key to meeting the fueling needs of the motoring public. The associations’ members are working to invest in that infrastructure.
In a statement to media, NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings said, “We all favor increased electric vehicle charging infrastructure. But for EVs to be successful, policies should seek to attract private investment into EV charging so that we build and foster a dynamic, competitive marketplace for EV fueling. That type of market has served current vehicle owners well and would serve future vehicle owners.”
When public utility commissions allow utilities to utilize rate payer dollars to underwrite their investments in electric vehicle charging, utilities get a special leg up into a market without putting a single capital investment at risk. This un-level playing field discourages fuel retailers from investing in EV charging because they cannot compete with utilities in this environment.
The end result will be fewer electric vehicle charging stations for consumers and ultimately fewer electric vehicles will be adopted, the groups said.
The trade groups said they have no objection to utility companies investing in EV charging infrastructure provided they do so via their unregulated businesses. This would result in a level playing field, where all parties are putting capital at risk and have similar incentives to respond to consumer demand and compete on quality and price.
With a monopoly position, utility companies will be able to charge consumers more for electricity than the market would bear, according to the letter. Utility companies will never be able to replicate the ubiquity and convenience of the private sector fueling market as more than 100,000 retail locations provide fuel to American consumers every day.
For electric charging to reach that type of market coverage, we must have private investment.
Furthermore, allowing utilities to fund EV infrastructure development through the rate base will saddle low-income electricity ratepayers with the costs of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
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