Oregon regulators adopt rule for development of transportation electrification plans

The Public Utility Commission of Oregon, in an April 16 order, adopted a new rule for the development of transportation electrification plans (TE Plans).

“This rule will serve to help electric companies and interested stakeholders survey the breadth of an individual company’s programs, the relevance of the programs to larger market and regulatory trends and the overall progress towards legislative goals,” the commission said.

Through SB 1547 (2016), the Legislature supported electric company investment and participation in the electric vehicle (EV) marketplace through programs that accelerate transportation electrification and create access to EVs for customers, the commission said. The law requires electric companies to file proposals with the commission for programs to expand transportation electrification, the commission said, adding, “We adopted rules for the filing of programs, and through this rulemaking adopt a rule for the creation of transportation electrification plans (TE Plans).”

Staff requested to open a formal rulemaking in December 2018, the commission said, adding that staff’s proposed rule encompasses four sections:

  • The first section describes the purpose of the rule
  • The second section describes the procedure for proposing a TE Plan, as well as the review process for the commission and stakeholders
  • The third section outlines the required elements of the plan
  • The fourth section allows the commission to require that the TE Plan be incorporated into other electric planning documents

The Legislature determined, for instance, that:

  • Transportation electrification is necessary to reduce petroleum use, achieve energy efficiency and carbon reduction, meet federal and state air quality standards, achieve greenhouse gas reduction policies, as well as improve public health and safety
  • Electric companies need to increase access to the use of electricity as a transportation fuel
  • Low- and moderate-income communities need to be a focus of this effort
  • EV adoption should support management of the electric grid and support the integration of renewable and variable generating resources

The commission added that the Legislature’s vision for transportation electrification is expansive. The commission said that it expects the planning efforts of the electric companies to take that vision into account, adding, “Programming should be developed that seeks to achieve these legislative goals, and the planning process should provide an opportunity for the electric company to demonstrate progress towards the goals across the breadth of programs.”

Among other things, the commission also noted that staff’s proposal requires a TE Plan to discuss market barriers, “which may include charging station development and electric vehicle adoption.”

Instead of identifying specific market barriers, the commission said that it expands that part of the rule to focus electric companies on two different types of market barriers. Electric companies should discuss in their TE Plans market barriers that their TE programs can address, and where electric companies encounter a broader market barrier that has been identified, but that the electric company cannot feasibly address, such a market barrier should be described in the TE Plan.

That requirement is not intended to create an obligation on behalf of the electric company to proactively identify market barriers, but instead to address those that are known and encountered in the program development or planning process, the commission said.

As noted in the rule, an electric company must file for commission acceptance of its TE Plan within two years of its previous TE Plan acceptance order or as otherwise directed by the commission. Commission staff will present its recommendation on the TE Plan at a public meeting, the rule said, adding that the commission will also consider comments and recommendations on a TE Plan at the public meeting before issuing an order of acceptance. The rule noted that “acceptance” means that the commission finds that the TE Plan meets the criteria and requirements of the rule and does not constitute a determination on the prudence of the individual actions discussed in the TE Plan.

The TE Plan must include, for instance, the current condition of the transportation electrification market in the electric company’s Oregon service territory, including a discussion of existing state policies and programs; market barriers that the electric company can address and other barriers that are beyond the company’s control; existing data on the availability and usage patterns of charging stations; as well as the number of EVs of various sizes in the utility service territory and projected number of vehicles in the next five years.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com.