Atlas has tracked proposed and approved IOU transportation electrification programs since 2012, with the first approved program logged in 2013. Over the past year, we have been digging through utility progress reports to start to learn about how the implementation of these approved programs is going. So far, Atlas has been able to find and review utility reports on the implementation of 50 programs across 17 states.4 We wrote about several key findings from this sample in a data story in September. Of the 50 programs for which we found and reviewed progress reports, 16 programs reported data on charger deployments in underserved communities. Of these 16 programs, at least six programs were exceeding their commitments, in many cases by more than 100 percent. Notably, this does not imply that the other ten programs will not meet or exceed their commitments because these results are just a snapshot, as not all utilities are required to issue progress reports, and many programs are still in their early years. Still, these early results are positive, and show that designing programs to prioritize investment in underserved communities can help to ensure charger deployment in these communities.
California programs made up more than 95 percent of the reported chargers in underserved communities. Again, it is important to note that not all utilities report data on charger installations in underserved communities, so this does not imply that 95 percent of utility-supported chargers in underserved communities are from California utilities. Still, California utilities have led in terms of designing programs to ensure equitable benefits. To date, California programs account for about 70 percent of approved funding allocated to underserved communities. However, utilities in other states have been catching up for a while. In fact, in 2021, six states other than California – Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, Nevada, and New Mexico – had programs approved with equity-focused components. Colorado utilities ranked first in 2021 in terms of total investment committed to undeserved communities, with more than $21.9 million allocated. California came in second with $20.8 million and New Mexico, Connecticut, and Florida ranked third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, with a combined $3.5 million.
Since the role of IOUs in supporting transportation electrification has largely involved investing in charging infrastructure, IOUs looking to design equitable programs have focused on ensuring chargers get built in underserved communities. However, it is extremely important to have complementary policies from government players at the state, local, and federal levels to help make EVs more affordable to purchase. The success of policies like the EV tax credits in the proposed Build Back Better bill will have a meaningful impact on how well IOU programs end up serving underserved communities. As of the time this data story was written, the fate of Build Back Better is very unclear, after Senator Joe Manchin stated he would not support the bill.
1 The PNM program referenced is the 2022-2023 Transportation Electrification Plan (docket 20-00237-UT). The Xcel program referenced is the 2021-2022 Transportation Electrification Plan (docket 20-00150-UT).
2 The Xcel program referenced is the 2021-2023 Transportation Electrification Plan (docket 20A-0204E).
3 These programs are funded through electric ratepayer revenue, however, NYSERDA rather than the utilities is responsible for using the funds and implementing the EJ Grant programs. These programs are detailed in the July 16, 2020 New York Public Service Commission Order in Case 18-E-0138.
4 Atlas finds and reviews reports associated with approved investor-owned utility transportation electrification programs. Not all approved utility programs have issued public reports and not all reports include the same information (e.g., not all reports include cost data or charger deployment data) so the information in this data story does not represent a comprehensive summary of implemented utility transportation electrification programs.