Currently, Maine is behind the curve in incentivizing plug-in vehicles
AUGUSTA – A measure that would incentivize the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations and the use of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) was enacted in the Maine Senate today.
The bill, LD 593, “An Act To Allow the Resale of Electricity by Electric Vehicle Charging Stations,” would allow electric vehicle charging stations to charge for kilowatt usage and would exempt charging stations from being considered a competitive electricity provider. Currently, these charging stations are not allowed to charge for electricity usage.
“The challenge facing Maine plug-in owners is a fledgling and limited infrastructure that constrains their ability to travel throughout our big and beautiful state,” said Democratic State Senator Rebecca Millett of Cape Elizabeth, the sponsor of the measure.
Currently, there are only 30 electric vehicle charging (EVC) stations in Maine, including at Thomas College, Mt. Abram Ski Mountain, the City of Portland, and car dealers that sell PEVs.
Senator Millett added, “This is the crux of the issue: Maine has a less than robust EVC network which unduly hampers providers from recovering their cost and is a strong disincentive to business development. This bill attempts to address this barrier.”
Currently, there are more than 8,000 EVCs in the U.S. including 300 in Tennessee, nearly 200 in Virginia, and more than 150 in Wisconsin. More than half of these EVCs have been built since 2012.
Joel Harrington from Central Maine Power, who supports the bill, said that CMP has 11 PEVs as part of its fleet.
There are approximately 300 PEV-owners in Maine. As of 2014, there are at least 22 models of plug-in vehicles–from more than dozen brands including Chevrolet Spark, Cadillac ELR, and Ford Focus.
Testifying in support of the measure, Dylan Voorhees from Natural Resources Council of Maine said, “This bill take one small but very important foundational step.”
According to the Department of Energy, it costs $1.29 on average to drive a PEV compared to $3.30 in gasoline for the same distance in a conventional car. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that two thirds of all the oil consumed in the U.S. is used for transportation.
Tex Haeuser, the Planning Director from the City of South Portland, said “it makes sense that we’d have an easier time convincing the Maine Mall or the hotels along Route 1 that they should put in these EV charging stations if we could tell them they can recoup their electricity costs.”
Other supporters of the bill included Maine’s Public Utilities Commission, Emera Maine, the Maine Auto Dealers Association, and Maine’s public advocate.
The measure will now go to the governor’s office to become law.