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Power & Pipes

FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

As New York seeks a path to achieving its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goals, the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) recently approved an order authorizing New York’s electric utilities to spend up to $701 million to develop “make-ready” sites for electric vehicle (EV) supply equipment (EVSE) and related infrastructure (i.e., charging stations). The program is referred to as the “Make-Ready Program.”

New York is attempting to reduce its GHG emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Electrifying the state’s transportation sector is viewed as integral to achieving that goal, as the transportation sector has a higher GHG output than any other sector of New York’s economy.

EV adoption, however, will need to increase considerably in order to achieve electrification on a scale that will meaningfully reduce GHG emissions. New York has a short-term goal of having 850,000 EVs in the state by 2025. As of July 2020, there were only 52,000. New York believes that a robust public charging network will drive consumer EV adoption.

To spur the development of charging stations throughout the state, New York’s utilities can now construct “make-ready” sites. Under the Make-Ready Program, utilities can complete all site work on the utility meter necessary to install charging stations and other EVSE. Other parties may then install, own, and operate all of the equipment on the other side of the utility meter that would be used to charge EVs.

There are currently approximately 1,700 Level 2 chargers (which can fully charge an EV in a few hours) and 132 DC Fast Chargers (which can fully charge an EV in about 30 minutes) in New York. The Make-Ready Program is intended to spur the installation of approximately 53,000 Level 2 chargers and 1,500 DC Fast Chargers. The NYPSC estimates that this number of chargers would adequately support the 850,000 EVs that New York hopes to have on its roads in the next five years.

In general, funds under the Make-Ready Program can be used to fund up to 90% of the costs of making a site “charger ready” for standardized plug types or 50% for proprietary plug types. If the site is in a disadvantaged community, Make-Ready Program funds can fully fund the cost to make a site charger ready.

The NYPSC will treat all utility-owned infrastructure as capitalized plant in service with cost allocation and recovery via traditional utility ratemaking methods. However, since the assets are not currently reflected in current rate plans, until New York’s electric utilities’ base rates reflect Make-Ready Program investments, the utilities will be allowed to recover the associated revenue requirement through an existing surcharge.