The Maryland Public Service Commission approved a five-year electric vehicle charging program for the state’s largest utilities, taking a major step towards its ambitious goal of putting 300,000 electric vehicles on roadways by 2025, according to a Jan. 14 press release. The order permits utilities to own a limited number of public charging stations, in a bid to jumpstart deployment, lower range anxiety in the near term, and pave the way for a competitive market. Utilities are required to create a separate rate class for over 900 charging stations to ensure that customers who use them are covering part of the costs. The pilot program stems from the commission’s grid modernization efforts.
Under the program, utilities will provide rebates for the costs of chargers with smart functionality, and develop a time-of-use rate design for residential offerings to encourage charging during off-peak hours. The order encourages coordination with existing programs and agencies, in order to avoid duplication, and directs the utilities to seek cost recovery in future rate cases where costs would undergo a comprehensive review. The utilities noted that ratepayers will not bear the entire cost because the rebate incentives will supplement other programs covering a portion of the charger costs.
The commission said that the initiative supports the transition towards electrified transportation while reaping the benefits of smart charging and minimizing cost impacts to ratepayers. Each utility must monitor progress and submit reports to the commission every six months.