ICC Initiates Notice of Inquiry to Evaluate Electric Vehicles

The Illinois Commerce Commission has initiated a proceeding to solicit information and opinions from stakeholders on electric vehicles (“EVs”) as they relate to grid resiliency and energy efficiency.

Led by Acting Commissioner Anastasia Palivos, on September 24 the Commission unanimously approved a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding Electric Vehicles.

The NOI comes as a follow up to two separate Commission Policy Sessions on transportation electrification held in April 2018 and September 2018 by Acting Commissioner Palivos. While Policy Sessions allow for a limited number of parties to participate and are time constrained, an NOI will allow for more stakeholder consideration and participation. The goal of this inquiry would be to educate the ICC on opportunities and challenges related to this emerging technology.

Pursuant to the Commission’s rules, the NOI proceeding is not a rulemaking and is non-decisional in nature, but information gathered may or may not form the basis for the initiation of a rulemaking or for other purposes.

Because EV adoption in Illinois is still in the early stages, regulations are relatively undeveloped. While many actors are penetrating the EV industry, regulatory uncertainty discourages utilities and customers from participating at a larger scale. It remains unclear how to efficiently integrate EVs into the current electric system, how to treat charging infrastructure from an ownership perspective, how to determine appropriate rate structures, and how to encourage efficient EV charging practices to support grid stability.

Accordingly, the Commission initiates this NOI as a vehicle for gathering information and opinions that may form the basis for action by the Commission on these matters.

Widespread EV adoption could bring Illinois up to forty-three billion dollars in benefits by 2050 stemming from reduced utility bills, carbon pollution, and fuel and vehicle expenses. EVs have the capacity to complement the

electric grid and different forms of distributed energy resources by increasing electricity reliability and resiliency. As the cost of batteries decreases, EVs are becoming a viable alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles, and, although they have high up-front costs, EVs have low maintenance costs, they reduce carbon emissions, and may help stabilize the electric grid. IEF