Charging stations not utilities (maybe)

In April, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) adopted new rules (Administrative Code Chapter 199 — 20.20 Electric vehicle charging service) clarifying that “A commercial or public electric vehicle charging station is not a public utility under Iowa Code section 476.1 if the charging station receives all electric power from the electric utility in whose service are the charging station is located.” That’s mostly good news, since there was some ambiguity about this situation.

HOWEVER, the code goes on to say “If an electric vehicle charging station obtains electric power from a source other than the electric utility, the determination of whether the commercial or public electric vehicle charging station is a public utility shall be resolved by the board.” In other words, if you are a grocery store or a hotel with some solar (or wind, or hydro, or ….) and a public charging station because you want to supply clean renewable energy to your EV-driving customers, you MIGHT be a public utility, and you have to go to invest tons of expense and time to apply to the IUB for a ruling on whether you are an electric utility. And if they say you are a utility, then you’re subject to all of the Iowa utility regulations.

We hope that the IUB will make a determination soon in favor of clean energy and the expansion of clean transportation in Iowa.