by Ethan Howland
Posted March 19, 2019
North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow the owners of electric vehicle charging stations to resell electricity, a move the bill’s main sponsor believes could spur third parties to install charging stations across the state.
Currently, North Carolina doesn’t allow electricity to be resold except at marinas and recreational vehicle facilities, according to state Rep. John Szoka, co-chairman of the House Energy and Public Utilities Committee.
North Carolina’s charging stations charge based on how long a vehicle is making use of the equipment but not for the electricity itself, according to Szoka. “That won’t help in widespread adoption,” he said.
North Carolina has 674 charging stations with 1,515 outlets, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. There were 8,945 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the state at the end of 2017, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
The bill (H.B. 329) states that charging stations aren’t a “public utility” under state law, removing them from North Carolina Utilities Commission oversight.
Utility service to EV charging stations will be provided subject to a utility's terms and conditions, according to the bill, which is set to be heard by the energy committee on March 26. The bill could hit the House floor in early April and if approved it would go to the Senate.
If the bill, which has bi-partisan support, makes it through the General Assembly and becomes law, third parties would be able to sell electricity at their charging stations.
“Because you can make a profit, it’s an incentive to install the chargers,” Szoka said. “Let’s let the free market do what it does best.”
North Carolina’s utilities, car companies such as Ford and the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Board support the bill, according to Szoka.
Szoka’s bill fits into a major trend last year of states clarifying whether utility regulators have jurisdiction over EV charging stations, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center said in the latest edition of its “50 States of Electric Vehicles” report.
Alabama and New Hampshire in 2018 clarified that EV charging station operators are not classified as public utilities while Pennsylvania regulators adopted a policy statement that third-party charging does not constitute a resale of electricity, the research organization said.
Also, in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in October issued an executive order that included a goal of having 80,000 registered zero-emission vehicles in the state by 2025.