The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a plan that will give drivers of electric vehicles in the state access to more places to recharge their vehicles’ batteries.
In an order issued Monday, the PSC approved a proposal by Kentucky Utilities Co. and Louisville Gas & Electric Co. to establish company-operated public electric vehicle charging stations and to permit non-residential customers to host charging stations.
“There is a need in the Commonwealth for a developed infrastructure of electric vehicle charging stations to serve the growing number of electric vehicle owners,” the PSC said in Monday’s order. The KU and LG&E proposal, which establishes a self-sustaining program, is “a strong first step in achieving that goal.”
The plan approved Monday envisions three possible scenarios for charging stations:
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▪ On the property of a non-residential customer, such as a factory, auto dealership or shopping mall, with the electricity used paid for by the hosting customer at the customer’s current rate. The hosting customer would pay a monthly fee to defray the cost of the charging station. The hosting customer could charge a fee for using the charging station.
▪ On the property of a non-residential customer, but with the electricity use unmetered. The monthly fee to defray the cost of the charging station would be higher to account for the electricity expected to be used at the station. The hosting customer could charge a fee for using the charging station.
▪ Utility-operated charging stations in public places, such as parking garages. Users would pay a time-based fee to plug in to the chargers.
According to information filed by KU and LG&E with their application, there are about 30 public electric vehicle charging stations in Kentucky. Twenty-one are in either the KU or LG&E service territories. Twelve of those are at auto dealerships.
KU and LG&E propose to install as many as 10 utility-operated charging stations in each service territory. There is no limit on the number of stations that could be installed on customer properties.
The charging stations would be level 2 (medium-capacity) models that provide 10 to 20 miles of driving range for each hour of charge, depending on the type of vehicle, the utilities said. The utilities have selected ChargePoint Inc. as the charging station provider.
Monday’s order approved the rates proposed by KU and LG&E for the charging stations. The utility-operated stations would charge an hourly rate of $2.88 (by KU) or $2.85 (by LG&E), pro-rated to the time spent plugged into the charger.
Drivers using the public stations would be able to establish accounts with ChargePoint, pay by credit card using a toll-free telephone number, or use a credit card with an RFID chip.
The monthly fee for chargers hosted by non-residential customers would range from $132.49 (LG&E customer paying for the power consumed by a one-vehicle charger) to $302.41 (KU customer hosting a two-vehicle charger, with the cost of estimated electric use reflected in the fee). Customers who choose to host a charging station must commit to do so for at least five years.
Because the program is designed to pay for itself, it would have no effect on the overall rates of the two utilities, the PSC news release said.
The PSC ordered KU and LG&E to file annual reports over the next five years with details on the number and location of charging stations and their use.