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New Hampshire PUC Starts Inquiry into Resale of Electricity at EV Charging Stations

January 25, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has ordered its staff to investigate (Docket IR 15-510) “the legal and regulatory issues implicated by the potential resale of electricity by electric vehicle charging (EVC) stations.”

The issue was raised last November 20 when  Liberty Utilities – a regulated natural gas and electric transmission and distribution utility currently serving 330,000 customers in ten states nationwide, including New Hampshire – filed a tariff amendment to permit the resale of electricity for EVC stations (Docket No. DE 15-489).

Late in December, the commission responded by suspending the Liberty tariff amendment to permit its staff to conduct the inquiry in the current docket.

Among the issues to be considered by the PUC staff are:

  • Whether the EVC station operators should be considered to be public utilities under RSA 362:2, or to be competitive electric power suppliers under RSA 374-F:7 and H. Code Admin Rules Chapter Puc 2000;
  • How to design and implement rates charged to and potentially by EVC station operators;
  • The commission’s jurisdiction over such rates and terms and conditions of service; and
  • Whether changes to electric distribution utility tariffs are warranted.

The commission does not view this as an isolated case, but rather as an umbrella issue that will affect all utilities statewide and region-wide at some time. Indeed, in structuring the investigation, the PUC directed, “Because electric vehicles are a growing presence in New Hampshire and in New England, and their use is supported by both state and regional initiatives, the commission expects that all electric distribution utilities [including Eversource Energy, Liberty Utilities, and Unitil Energy] will be affected by the resolution of these issues. Accordingly, participation by the state’s electric distribution utilities is mandatory for this investigation.”

Further, the PUC set a deadline for discovery, stating that “To aid the investigation, all electric distribution utilities and other persons shall submit legal memoranda on or before January 22.”

Based on those materials, commission staff will conduct a stakeholder technical session to review the issues on February 9. Staff will report on its conclusion and recommendations on or before February 26.

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