OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRIC AND ZERO-EMISSION VEHICLES.
This bill makes a number of changes related to electric and zero emission vehicles, including planning for electricity demand for these vehicles, making high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes available to zero-emission vehicles with one occupant, and imposing various requirements on charging stations.
Regarding electric utilities and planning for electricity demand, the bill requires:
1. the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to implement, by June 1, 2016, time of day rates for public electric vehicle charging stations (which any vehicle can use free of charge) and private charging stations (§ 5);
2. (a) PURA to require electric companies to integrate electric vehicle charging load projections into their distribution planning, based on the number of registered and projected sales of electric vehicles and (b) the electric companies to annually, beginning by January 1, 2016, post a report on their websites about their projections and plans (§ 6);
3. the state's integrated resource plan to analyze the potential for electric vehicles to provide energy storage and other services to the electric grid and ensure the grid is prepared to support increased electric vehicle charging based on projected vehicle sales (§ 7).
The bill makes a number of changes regarding charging stations. Among other things, it:
1. excludes public or private electric vehicle charging stations from the requirements governing public utilities, which are subject to PURA rate regulation and must comply with PURA's orders (§ 4);
2. requires posting prices (the bill also imposes this requirement on hydrogen fuel pumps) and offering multiple payment options to customers, imposes parking restrictions, authorizes charging time limits, and prohibits members-only charging stations;
3. requires DMV to provide the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center with each private vehicle charging station's location and characteristics including their addresses, voltage, and timing restrictions (§ 9);
4. requires annual registration of private electric vehicle charging stations with the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and imposes a $50 annual fee (§ 10); and
5. requires DCP to adopt certain standards for commercial electricity measuring devices including those for selling electricity for electric vehicles.
The bill also requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), by October 1, 2015, to record the number of electric vehicles registered in Connecticut and post on its website, and update every six months, the total number registered and the number registered each year (§ 2).
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015
§ 1 — ELECTRIC VEHICLES DEFINED
For purposes of the bill's provisions, an electric vehicle is a:
1. battery electric vehicle, which is one that (a) operates solely on a battery or battery pack or (b) is powered primarily through an electric battery or battery pack but uses a flywheel or capacitor that stores energy from the electric motor or regenerative braking to assist in vehicle operation;
2. hybrid electric vehicle, which is one that (a) delivers power to the driver wheels solely by a battery-powered electric motor that incorporates a combustion engine to provide power to the battery or (b) allows delivery of power to the driver wheels by a combustion engine, battery-powered electric motor, or both; or
3. range-extended battery electric vehicle, which is one powered predominantly by a zero-emission energy storage device that has a manufacturer rating of more than 75 all-electric miles and is equipped with a backup auxiliary power unit that operates only when the energy storage device is fully depleted.
§§ 1 & 3 — HOV LANES
The bill requires DMV to create a program allowing single occupant zero-emission vehicles to use the state's HOV lanes if the vehicle displays a DMV sticker authorizing it.
The bill defines a zero-emission vehicle as an electric vehicle, as defined by the bill, or a vehicle that meets state regulatory requirements for zero-emission vehicles.
Federal law places conditions on use of vehicles in HOV lanes (see BACKGROUND).
§§ 8 & 9 — PRICE DISPLAYS AND PAYMENT OPTIONS
As currently required for gasoline pumps, the bill requires posting any DCP-required signs about prices on charging stations and hydrogen fuel pumps. Owners must display any differences in price for full- or self-service. For charging stations, the price must be in kilowatt/hours. Violations are punishable by a fine of $50 to $250.
The bill also requires operators to provide customers of private electric vehicle charging stations open to the public with multiple payment options, including cash and credit or debit cards.
§§ 9-10 — CHARGING STATION PARKING
The bill (1) prohibits parking at a private electric vehicle charging station except when operating a plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle and (2) allows owners or operators of private electric vehicle charging stations open to the public to restrict how long an electric vehicle may charge at the station.
§§ 11-12 — MEASURING STANDARDS
By June 1, 2016, the bill requires the DCP commissioner to adopt standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) concerning commercial electricity measuring devices, including those used to measure and sell electricity for fuel in electric vehicles. A NIST working group recently completed recommended standards on this topic. They will be considered for final approval by the National Conference on Weights and Measures in July.
The bill requires, rather than allows, the DCP commissioner to adopt as regulations certain standards from NIST related to commercial weighing and measuring devices and the method of sale of commodities. The commissioner has already adopted these standards by reference in regulations.
Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)
The law requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), in consultation with the electric companies, to review the state's energy and capacity resources and develop an IRP for procuring energy resources. The IRP assesses future electric needs and plans to meet those needs. It looks at both demand side resources (conservation, energy efficiency, etc.) and supply side resources (generation/power plants, transmission lines, etc.). The most recent IRP was issued in June 2012. DEEP recently released a draft 2014 IRP which should be finalized during the first half of 2015.
Related Federal Law — HOV Lanes
With some exceptions, federal law only allows vehicles with at least two occupants to use HOV lanes. Until September 30, 2017, a state may allow HOV lane use by a single person driving (1) an inherently low emission vehicle certified and labeled according to federal regulations or (2) a low emission and energy-efficient vehicle certified and labeled according to federal law, if the operator pays a toll.
To allow use by these vehicles, federal law requires the responsible state agency (for Connecticut, the Department of Transportation (DOT)) to establish procedures (1) to enforce the restrictions on use of the lanes and (2) for low emission and energy-efficient vehicles, determine how to select qualifying vehicles. DOT must report to the federal DOT that (1) the lanes are not degraded, (2) these vehicles will not degrade the lanes, and (3) DOT will establish necessary programs to monitor the vehicles' impact. DOT must report on these programs to the federal DOT annually, establish enforcement programs, and limit or prohibit use by these vehicles if the lanes are degraded (23 USC § 166).
Energy and Technology Committee
Joint Favorable Substitute