Late last month, Clean Fuels Ohio filed a motion to formally intervene in AEP Ohio’s base rate case (Case Nos. 20-585-EL-AIR, 20-586-EL-ATA, and 20-587-EL-AAM) with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The organization is intervening in a utility case for the first time in support of AEP Ohio’s proposal to invest significantly in electric vehicle infrastructure and education within its service territory.
The electric vehicle program would be the first non-pilot program proposed by an investor-owned electric utility in the state. In 2018, AEP Ohio began a 48-month, $10.5 million charger incentive pilot, and Duke Energy and Dayton Power & Light have each proposed similar pilots. AEP Ohio’s non-pilot program would be less exploratory and would commit more resources over the life of the program than a typical pilot. AEP Ohio proposes to dedicate $4 million annually from base distribution rates to electric vehicle chargers and vehicle incentives, which would last until a new distribution rate is approved.
Clean Fuels Ohio has previously been active around the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, primarily related to the transportation sector’s electrification. Prior to the approval of an historic AEP Ohio EV pilot in 2018, Clean Fuels Ohio’s Chief Executive Officer, Sam Spofforth, provided expert testimony on the program’s merits. The organization’s recent formal intervention, however, will be its first over an 18-year history.
“Our formal intervention is a major step forward for our organization — a step that will bring future opportunities to support forward-thinking utility strategies around transportation in Ohio,” said Brendan Kelley, Drive Electric Ohio Program Director.
Last month, the utility commission staff submitted their report and recommended removing the broader demand side management portion of the rate case, including the electric vehicle program, though the report did not directly reference the proposed electric vehicle program. Clean Fuels Ohio seeks to ensure that the electric vehicle program is considered on its own merits. A 2019 study demonstrated that, if the new load from electric vehicles is well managed, i.e., pushed to off-peak times, there will be significant financial benefits to all ratepayers, and these ongoing benefits increase as adoption increases. Additionally, Ohio businesses will benefit if they are supported in electrifying their fleets, and it will be essential to develop a local market for electric vehicles if Ohio hopes to take advantage of an increasingly electrified auto manufacturing industry.
Following a December 18th deadline to intervene, settlement negotiations are expected to begin in January.