Wisconsin legislation would impose restrictions on public solar-powered EV chargers

New Wisconsin bills regarding solar-powered EV chargers are working through the state legislature. AB 588 and SB 573 attempt to clarify that selling electricity by the kilowatt-hour (instead of by the minute as is the current practice) to electric vehicles does not subject EV charging station owners to utility regulation. However, the bill has been amended with several provisions that are of concern.

The bill requires that all electricity sold through an electric vehicle charger must come from the local utility, prohibiting EV chargers that get any of their electricity from a rooftop or standalone solar + storage system from being available to the public if they charge a fee.

No city, village, town, county, school district or state agency may own, operate, manage or lease a publicly available charging facility. Municipalities may authorize a utility or private entity to operate a charger on their property.

The Senate Committee on Utilities, Technology, and Telecommunications held a Public Hearing on SB 573 for Feb. 2, while the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities has scheduled an Executive Session to vote on AB 588 on Feb. 3.

RENEW Wisconsin submitted testimony on the bill. The group supports the first goal of the bill, which clarifies that non-utility entities may sell electricity for electric vehicles without violating the state utility laws. Currently, non-utility owned EV charging stations are charging by the minute, not the amount of energy delivered. That results in the owners of slower-charging vehicles paying more for energy than the owners of fast charging vehicles, which RENEW feels should be corrected.

The group says that while the bill would solve one problem, it creates another. As drafted, this proposal would prohibit anyone from charging a fee if any non-utility-generated energy is provided through a non-utility-owned/operated EV station. RENEW Wisconsin opposes this provision as it will significantly limit the use of solar + storage EV-charging equipment in Wisconsin.

News item from Rise Up Midwest

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