Electric Vehicle Make Ready Legislation
Electric vehicles (EVs) are coming. They are already 5 percent of new vehicle sales, are forecast to be more than 25 percent of new vehicle sales by 2026, and more than half of new vehicle sales by 2030. This trend is particularly dramatic in the regions surrounding New Hampshire. ISO New England is forecasting that there will be more than half a million EVs on the road in Massachusetts by 2030, and 1.5 million throughout New England. An additional 1.5 million EVs are expected to be on the road in Quebec, where electricity rates are some of the lowest in the world. The province already has more than 100,000 EVs on the road, and the government has announced it will ban sales of internal combustion engines by 2035.
In other words, the number of electric vehicles in our region is forecast to increase by more than 19 times over the next 8 years.
Meanwhile, other New England states that tourists may choose to visit have invested aggressively in public EV charging infrastructure and New Hampshire is already becoming known as a “charging desert” with fewer than half the number of publicly available ports as Maine and Vermont. Vermont has 834 public charging ports, and Maine has 799, New Hampshire has only 402. This disparity is mirrored in the number of DC fast charging stations, of which Vermont has 52 ports, Maine 55, and New Hampshire 34.
Without significant investment in charging infrastructure, made in advance of widespread EV adoption, EV-driving tourists will be forced to choose other states for their vacations and day trips.
What does this bill do?
This legislation will enable New Hampshire’s electric utilities to make investments that will lower the customers’ cost of installing EVs charging infrastructure. Private entities will still purchase and own the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) that charges the vehicles, but the utilities will be allowed to build the “front of the meter” (transformers, poles, wires and other infrastructure) required to install EVSE. Specifically, this bill:
Directs the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve utility investments in "make ready" infrastructure (poles, wires, transformers). Utilities are not allowed to buy and operate charging equipment itself.
Directs the utilities to create charging rates that are not an impediment to public charging. Specifically, rates that don't include "demand charges."
Why will this bill pass?
This bill seeks a balanced approach. It directs the PUC to authorize rates that consider future EV adoption rates, and determine if the investments that the utilities propose are “prudently incurred.”
This bill is supported by a broad coalition, including the electric utilities, the travel and tourism sector, NH auto dealers and manufacturers, and clean energy advocates broadly. We will ensure that these entities are at the statehouse to advocate for this bill.
Failure to address NH falling behind its neighbors in charging infrastructure means handing those neighbors a competitive advantage in attracting destination tourism, NH’s second-largest industry.
This bill will not result in an increase in electric distribution rates. While it will allow utilities to invest in infrastructure to charge EVs, that infrastructure cost will be offset by increased electricity sales. Analyses have found that the increased revenue exceeds costs by a factor of at least 2:1. Which means these investments have the potential to drive down rates.
This bill has bipartisan support in both chambers, including Senate leadership.