Electric Vehicles and Utility Regulation

Electric utilities and state utility regulators play key roles in the efficient and equitable deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Utility investments in grid infrastructure are needed to accommodate transportation electrification, and many state regulators are considering proposals by utilities to develop and operate EV charging infrastructure and structure customer rates to effectively manage EV charging. To support state efforts and enable the environmental, economic, and social benefits of transportation electrification, the Georgetown Climate Center facilitates conversations between state officials and electric utilities, participates in state regulatory proceedings, and conducts research on the role of state regulators and electric utilities in transportation electrification. Below are highlights of the Georgetown Climate Center's work.

Utility Investment in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

Deployment of electric vehicles is a key strategy for achieving cleaner air and reducing carbon pollution. However, widespread transportation electrification will require a significant investment in the charging infrastructure needed to power electric vehicles. In states across the country, electric utilities are proposing investments in electric distribution systems and EV charging infrastructure.

  • Regulatory Considerations for Utility Investment in EV Charging Infrastructure (November 2017)– A report from the Georgetown Climate Center and M.J. Bradley & Associates provides an overview of the accelerating electrification of the transportation sector and explores the role of state utility regulators in evaluating potential investments by electric utilities in EV charging infrastructure. The report identifies key considerations for regulators, including the amount of charging infrastructure needed to support EVs, ways that regulators can help ensure equitable access to charging infrastructure, and opportunities to maximize the benefits of utility investment in charging infrastructure.


Electric Vehicle Charging Regulation and Rate Design

As more electric vehicles enter the roadways and plug into the electric grid, state public utility regulators must address the challenge of balancing multiple interests—reliability, cost effectiveness, technological advancement, and utility planning.

Among the regulatory issues state public utility commissions are investigating are:

  • The role of electric vehicles in the electric grid of the future;
  • The need for regulation of electric vehicle charging markets; and
  • The utility rate structures and investments needed to enable an electrified transportation system that is optimal for the grid and utility customers.

The Georgetown Climate Center has prepared the following analyses to inform the conversations around each of these issues.