JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Ameren Missouri can move forward with a plan to advance electric vehicle adoption in the Show-Me State.
The Missouri Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved a pilot program for the utility company to promote electric vehicle charging stations along highway corridors in their service territory.
The program aimed at expanding electric vehicle adoption was approved in a 4-1 vote, Commissioner Scott Rupp dissented. The majority noted the program balances the need to provide incentives to electric vehicle adoption in Missouri with the best interests of all Ameren Missouri ratepayers.
“Creating a sufficient charging network throughout Ameren Missouri’s territory and the state as a whole decreases ‘range anxiety’ by giving consumers the confidence that they can safely travel in their EV throughout the state and be able to charge the EV as needed,” said the commission. “Thus, decreasing ‘range anxiety’ should increase EV adoption by removing this barrier.”
The commission also noted that one of the benefits of this pilot program is that it encourages a more rapid build out of an EV charging corridor along Missouri’s highways.
Under the program, Ameren Missouri will provide incentives to those entities seeking to build electric vehicle charging stations. Items eligible for incentives include line extension and the upfront cost of charging equipment. The commission noted that providing incentives will likely encourage greater electric vehicle adoption in the near term.
“The evidence showed that without financial incentives, it is not feasible at this time for the private sector to implement public fast charging stations along Missouri’s highway corridors anytime soon,” said the commission.
Based upon the evidence that the pilot program is reasonable and economically feasible because it is limited in cost at $4.4 million, according to the commission, the pilot program is limited to five years and it is limited in the amount of incentive payment per site.
Under the Commission’s order, Ameren Missouri is to track the pilot Electric Vehicle Charging Corridor Sub-Program costs and administrative expenses for possible recovery of those prudently incurred expenses in future rate cases.
In its decision, the Commission also announced that a working group file will be opened in a separate order. It will be a stakeholder process to further evaluate potential mechanisms for facilitating installation of EV charging stations in Missouri.
“I can not support the way this is being proposed,” said Rupp. “We are stating basically that we as a commission do not have confidence that the other non-corridor programs will increase adoption rates therefore cannot say they are in the public interest. But yet, even in this order we mention KCP&L and GMO and commended them for building out their non-corridor network, which resulted in Kansas City being in the top two or three cities in the nation for EV adoption rates.”
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.