JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – It seems that the Missouri Public Service Commission will not be regulating electric vehicle charging stations in Missouri.
The PSC on Wednesday denied a request by Ameren for a pilot program to install and operate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations along the Interstate 70 corridor, saying they lack the statutory authority to regulate them. The commission’s decision was made with a vote of 4-1, with only Commissioner Scott Rupp being opposed.
“The Commission finds that EV charging stations are not an ‘electric plant’ as defined in the statute because they are not used for furnishing electricity for light, heat, or power,” the Commission said. “EV charging stations are facilities that use specialized equipment, such as a specific cord and vehicle connector, to provide the service of charging a battery in an electric vehicle. The battery is the sole source of power to make the vehicle’s wheels turn, the heater and air conditioner operate, and the headlights shine light.”
Ameren Missouri’s proposal requests to place EV charging stations at various locations within their service area along the I-70 corridor, running between St. Louis and Boonville and also in Jefferson City.
The PSC’s ruling notes that the charging service is what is being sold by the utility companies, not the electricity used to power the system, which therefore means they lack the authority to regulate such an operation.
“Ameren Missouri has not demonstrated that the business of EV charging stations needs to be regulated in order to protect the public. Currently, EV drivers are not captive customers being served by a single utility, but have a choice among several providers of EV charging services,” the commission concluded.
That being said, the decision does not prohibit Ameren Missouri from owning and operating EV charging stations in Missouri, but only means the PSC will not be regulating it.
“Ameren Missouri may own and operate EV charging stations in Missouri, but it may only do so on an unregulated basis without including those charging stations in its rate base or seeking recovery from ratepayers for any of the costs associated with the construction or operation of those charging stations,” the PSC said.
Ameren Missouri may include in rate base any equipment, such as distribution lines, transformers, and meters, necessary to provide electric service to an owner of an EV charging station, whether or not that owner is affiliated with Ameren Missouri.
The PSC did direct Ameren Missouri to collect more data regarding the appropriate rate to charge owners of EV charging stations and present that to the commission during their next general rate case.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.