State Legislator Breaks for Summer Recess with No Action on SB 435 or HB 1285

The two bills in the General Assembly that PPA have been actively opposing since January were stalled from being considered prior to the summer recess.

            SB 435 (Mensch) would require electric utilities to build out the electric vehicle charging network. The legislation (strongly pushed by PECO) permits the utility to charge all electric customers pursuant to the cost of that build out. The utility would also be permitted to own and operate retail charging facilities.

PPA has argued that this hidden tax would enable the utilities to dominate the retail charger market and engage in potential unfair competitive practices toward private sector entities that might want to enter that business.

The Senate had positioned the bill to be amended and possibly voted in the last days of budget session, but then put it off further consideration until at least after the summer.

PPA and its members had been intensely working to educate Senators as to the negative effect the bill would have on electric rate payers, as well as on convenience stores looking to participate the emerging retail EV Charging Industry- and ultimately consumers.

The fact that the process of the Senate bill was halted (even temporarily) was considered a significant victory for the bill’s opponents-but does not mean that the bill has been ultimately defeated.

HB 1285 (Williams) would also permit utilities to charge its rate base for cost of the EV Retail Charger network. It would also allow natural gas utilities to recover the cost of expansion of gas lines to new customers.

PPA and its members worked hard to communicate with members of the House leadership and the House Consumer Affairs Committee -asking them to oppose the bill, or at least for a public hearing to further examine the issue.

Indications are that request will be granted-likely before the General Assembly returns in September. A significant development in Washington that PPA is watching is the reported deal in the infrastructure proposal. Media accounts indicate that the deal would include $7.5 billion for the EV Charger infrastructure buildout.

PPA and its allies fighting the state bills urged the legislature to wait to see what the federal plan will be prior to committing Pennsylvania to a charger rollout controlled by the utilities. The potential federal action is a major game changer in the debate on the state level.

Although this fight is far from over, PPA extends its thanks to our members who contacted their elected officials over the past several weeks. There is still much work to be done.

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