Dive Brief:

  • The Arizona Corporation Commission on Thursday voted to move ahead with a strategy to boost the state’s use of electric vehicles, approving a staff-developed plan to implement its electrified transportation policy.
  • Last year, the commission adopted a new policy to encourage investor-owned utilities to develop rates and pilot programs to support EVs and related infrastructure, including charging stations.
  • Regulators yesterday also approved two new tariffs for Tucson Electric Power (TEP), to encourage residential customers with electric vehicles to charge during off-peak hours.

Dive Insight:

The commission is moving ahead with plans to expand Arizona’s use of electric vehicles, and has approved guidelines for EV pilot programs that include a focus on infrastructure, education and outreach.

The guidelines also include an analysis of where to locate charging stations, best practices and consumer protections, rate design, incentives and rebates, and cost recovery for the pilot programs. Regulators directed utilities to submit EV pilot programs for review.

Several groups applauded the decision, which they say will improve air quality and save Arizona customers billions of dollars.

“This decision clearly sends a signal that Arizona is ready to get serious about transportation electrification,” Southwest Energy Efficiency Project Arizona representative, Ellen Zuckerman, said in a statement.

The EV implementation plan “enables the expansion of infrastructure to help meet the increased demand of EVs on our roads,” said Diane Brown, executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “More EVs in our state will result in ratepayer, air quality, and public health benefits.”

Western Resource Advocates and Wildfire Arizona also supported the commission’s decision.

Increased EV adoption could help all consumers, according to some analyses. Plug in America said EVs could help Arizona consumers see annual savings of up to $176 per household by 2050, thanks to a 5.5% projected rate decrease.

Also on Thursday, the commission approved two new tariffs for TEP, to encourage customers to charge at a savings when demand for electricity is low. 

The commission said TEP’s residential Electric Vehicle Super Off-Peak Time-of-Use Electric Vehicle tariff is “very similar” to the utility’s existing residential TOU tariff, but “the proposed new rates also encourage customers to charge during off-peak hours.”

In other EV policy news, North Carolina lawmakers are taking steps to boost adoption. The state’s legislature has approved a bill to exempt charging stations from being regulated as public utilities, and to enable retail resale of electricity. The News & Observer also reports another bill, to raise registration fees on EVs, has failed.