Who Can Own/Operate a Charging Station

This map summarizes state activities to address issues related to owning and operating electric vehicle charging stations.

One of the key regulatory challenges to electric vehicle-grid integration is defining which entities can own and operate vehicle charging stations. States regulate retail electricity sales to all utility customers, so two key questions arise:

  • Under what conditions should charging station providers (also called electric vehicle service providers) be regulated as electric utilities?
  • Under what conditions can electric utilities own and operate a charging station?

Without regulatory changes, many states would be forced to regulate electric vehicle service providers as utilities because they sell electricity directly to consumers. These extensive regulations  would make many new business models unfeasible and discourage growth in charging infrastructure deployment. The PEV Dialogue Group recommends that a charging station provider that is only selling electricity as a transportation service should not be regulated as a utility.

Another major issue is under what conditions electric utilities can own and operate public charging stations, and whether there should be a different set of rules in low-demand markets. If electric utilities use ratepayer funds to deploy charging stations, they would have an unfair competitive advantage against other electric vehicle service providers. On the other hand, utilities could help provide charging infrastructure to underserved areas. The PEV Dialogue Group recommends that states allow utilities to own and operate public charging stations through unregulated affiliates. The Group also recommends that states allow utilities to own and operate charging stations for internal use, for demonstration purposes, and in areas that the private market would not support otherwise.

Related Reports

  • See the PEV Action Plan for more information on regulations related to owning and operating charging stations.

Related Maps

Last updated: October 6, 2014