The Florida Public Service Commission approved an EV charging pilot program for Tampa Electric Company allowing the company to own and operate 200 new charging ports.Dory Larsen | April 5, 2021
New Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Pilot Approved
On April 1, 2021, in a 3-1 vote, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Tampa Electric Company’s (TECO) request for an electric vehicle (EV) charging pilot program. This is the fifth EV pilot program approved in the state and will allow TECO to spend up to $2 million dollars to purchase, install, own, and maintain charging stations. The pilot program will add an estimated 200 new charging ports in TECO territory. The deployment of these charging stations will support EV adoption by increasing customer confidence in the availability of public charging.
The findings in our brief produced with Atlas Public Policy, “Transportation Electrification in Florida” support the need for such a pilot. Despite Florida being ranked second in the nation by the number of EV sales, utility investment remains under 1 percent of the national total. Ranking 30th in EV charger deployment per capita, Florida has some catching up to do. The blog post, Transportation Electrification in Florida: Leveraging Utility Engagement, examines more closely the role utilities can play and the actions they can take to improve charging deployment.
The program seeks to install Level 2 charging stations at the workplace, public/retail, and multi-unit dwellings as well as earmarking a portion of stations for income-qualified sites and government locations. The chart below (included in this PSC staff memorandum) breaks down the number of Level 2 ports by market segment.
Commission Accepted Staff Recommendations
The Public Service Commission voted 3-1 to accept staff’s recommendations for approval of the pilot. Of note, staff acknowledged the importance of increasing charging infrastructure to support EV adoption, referencing Section 339.287, of Florida Statutes, which stems from the passage of last year’s SB 7018, writing, “(the statute) recognizes the emerging importance of EV Ports and the important role of utilities in this effort.”
The pilot will allow TECO to pay up to $5,000 per Level 2 port towards the cost of installation for workplaces, public/retail, and multi-unit dwellings, and the full cost of installation for income-qualified sites and government locations. TECO also plans on including four ports for Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC).
The function of a utility pilot program is to generate learnings that feed into and improve future investments in large-scale programs. TECO identified five goals of the pilot:
- Support utility system planning
- Ensure grid reliability
- Develop TECO’s competencies to serve the EV market
- Meet customer needs in identified key markets
- Inform/develop TECO’s long-term strategy
Additionally, TECO stated the pilot will support state and local initiatives to prepare for an electrified transportation sector.
TECO is required to file annual reports that provide comprehensive data for each market segment. Specific data points include but are not limited to the number of charging sessions, time of use, charger utilization by geographic location, costs to EV drivers, installation costs, load profiles, ongoing operation, and maintenance expense, and site host or driver feedback.
SACE applauds the reporting requirements that the commission approved. With robust evaluation, measurement, and verification, utility pilots will help identify and overcome market barriers, including charging infrastructure deployment, and equitable electric vehicle ownership access while identifying opportunities for researching and developing grid-related technical solutions and addressing rate design challenges.
About Electrify the South
Electrify the South is a program of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy that leverages research, advocacy, and outreach to promote renewable energy and accelerate the equitable transition to electric transportation throughout the Southeast. Visit ElectrifytheSouth.org to learn more and connect with us.