Iowa governor signs bill involving electric vehicles, energy efficiency, eminent domain

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds recently signed into law Senate File 2311, which, among other things, provides for a study of electric vehicle infrastructure support.

According to the governor’s May 4 statement, the bill passed the Iowa House 52-42 on April 26, and the Iowa Senate 28-20 on April 30.

According to the legislation, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa utility industry, is to conduct a study of electric vehicle infrastructure support for commercial and non-commercial vehicles, as well as make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The study is to evaluate the relative costs and benefits associated with various options for electric vehicle infrastructure support, the legislation added, noting that the Economic Development Authority is to submit a report to the General Assembly containing the results of the study by June 30, 2019.

Senate File 2311 also noted that any public agency participating in an agreement authorizing the joint exercise of governmental powers under the legislation may exercise its power of eminent domain to acquire interests in property, under provisions of law then in effect and applicable to the public agency, for the use of the entity created to carry out the agreement, provided that the power of eminent domain is not used to acquire interests in property that is part of a system of facilities in existence, under construction, or planned, for the generation, transmission or sale of electric power, or for the transmission, transportation, or sale of natural gas.

In addition, the legislation noted that electric and gas public utilities are to offer energy efficiency programs to their customers through energy efficiency plans.

An energy efficiency plan as a whole is to be cost-effective, the legislation said, adding that energy efficiency programs for qualified low-income persons, as well as for tree planting programs, educational programs, and assessments of consumers’ needs for information to make effective choices regarding energy use and energy efficiency need not be cost-effective, and are not to be considered in determining cost-effectiveness of plans as a whole.

Electric utilities required to be rate-regulated under the legislation are to file five-year energy efficiency plans and demand response plans; gas utilities required to be rate-regulated under the legislation are to also file five-year energy efficiency plans, according to the legislation.

An energy efficiency plan and budget, or a demand response plan and budget, are to include a range of energy efficiency or demand response programs, tailored to the needs of all customer classes, including residential, commercial, and industrial customers, for energy efficiency opportunities, the legislation noted.

Among other things, the legislation noted that a gas or electric utility required to be rate-regulated under the legislation may recover, through an automatic adjustment mechanism, over a period not to exceed the term of the plan, the costs of an approved energy efficiency plan or demand response plan in a contested case proceeding. Customers that have been granted exemptions from energy efficiency plans are not to be charged for recovery of energy efficiency costs beginning Jan. 1 of the year following the year in which the customer was granted the exemption, according to the legislation.

The legislation also noted that customers of gas and electric utilities subject to rate regulation are to receive the full benefits of the utilities’ reduced federal corporate income taxes as provided in the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

In addition, according to the legislation, a corporation or cooperative association providing electrical or gas service is to not consider the use of renewable energy sources by a customer as a basis for establishing discriminatory rates or charges for any service or commodity sold to the customer, or discontinue services, or subject the customer to any other prejudice or disadvantage based on the customer’s use or intended use of renewable energy sources. Such sources include solar heating, wind power, and the conversion of urban and agricultural organic wastes into methane gas and liquid fuels, the legislation noted.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.