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Forbes: Electric Vehicles Benefit Utility Customers as Much as Their Owners

Posted by Jeff McMahon on Feb 1, 2019

Forbes covers the widespread benefits of electric vehicles, from beyond their owners to utility customers as well, and addresses key regulatory considerations The article references AEE’s webinar, EVs 101: What Regulators Need to Know About Electric Vehicles, which featured a panel of experts including Proterra’s Eric McCarthy, Siemens' Chris King, and AEE's Matt Stanberry. See excerpts below and the entire Forbes story here:

As electric-vehicle sales mount, observers are finding benefits to society—especially to electric ratepayers—that sometimes surpass the benefits to the EV buyers.

"These vehicles use a different kind of fuel and plug into our electricity system, and the good news about that is that there are a number of cost-benefit studies that are showing this can be really beneficial to all rate payers, not just the drivers of the vehicles," said Matt Stanberry, the managing director of the advanced transportation program for the trade group Advanced Energy Economy

"As you increase electricity sales for charging the vehicles, it has the effect of driving down rates for all ratepayers because it spreads the fixed cost of the system out across a larger volume of sales..." [Stanberry added.]

Recent studies have analyzed the impact of EVs in five Northeastern States and in California and found hundreds of dollars per car in annual benefits to three groups: to EV owners in saved fuel and maintenance costs, to electric ratepayers in reduced fixed costs, and to society in reduced carbon emissions...

"We have heard the complaint come up that the utility-funded programs for EV charging infrastructure are a subsidy to EV owners, who tend to be well off in the first place and are driving their Teslas," said Chris King, chief policy officer at Siemens Digital Grid. "That couldn’t be more wrong."

"California, which has close to half a million, is looking at net benefits already exceeding the $1 billion number. And this is to non-participating rate payers," King said during a webinar hosted by AEE.

"The trick of course is that the benefit mounts as you get higher levels of adoption of these vehicles," [Stanberry] said. "The more adoption the more benefit you get—and you need to have people charge at the right time, which means charging off peak when there’s spare capacity on the electricity system."

Regulators, then, ought to encourage this trend in at least two ways:

  1. By providing more opportunities for electric vehicles to charge, and
  2. By structuring rates to encourage charging at off-peak hours…

 "As utilities and utility commissions think about EVs they should be aware that utilities are really well positioned to help in this education process, but it’s clear they’re not going to do it all themselves. But they are connected to all ratepayers and they can really help ratepayers understand the benefits of EVs and the charging that will be done on their system..." [said Stanberry.]

 See the complete Forbes story here. The story was also covered by CleanTechnica here.

Topics: AEE In The News