Friday June 21st, 2024 10:08PM

Association seeks 'level playing field' for EV charging stations

Two bills in the Georgia General Assembly would standardize the price of electricity for any business that wants to operate charging stations for electric vehicles.

House Bill 1322 and Senate Bill 492 would require Georgia Power to create a subsidiary for charging stations that would buy electric at the same rate paid by private businesses such as convenience stores.

The Georgia Association of Convenience Stores supports the bills, saying its members already have the infrastructure to provide the charging stations, particularly as the number of electric vehicles is supposed to grow significantly over the next five years.

"There's over 6,500 convenience stores in the state of Georgia," said President Angela Holland. "That's a store every nine square miles. And so we definitely have the infrastructure in our state. It's the fifth most-saturated state in the nation with convenience stores."

But Holland believes Georgia Power can provide electricity cheaper to itself to operate charging stations that it would to private businesses. She also believes the utility will simply raise rate to all customers to make up for any losses.

"We just need we need to be able to resell electricity on a level playing field," she said. "And we need to know the rate at which we're selling it."

For its part, Georgia Power has said it doesn't want to be in the electric vehicle charging station business. It operates 57 stations statewide, most in rural areas. And the utility provides financial incentives to private businesses to build more charging stations.

Holland said convenience stores are the logical place for charging stations because customers are already familiar with stopping there for gas.

"For almost 100 years, we've been pulling into a gas station to fuel up," Holland said. "So we're still going to do the same function, whether you pull up and fuel up with a petroleum-based product or a hydrogen-based product or electricity."

The Biden administration this month awarded more than $5 billion nationwide to spur charging station growth. About $135 million is coming to Georgia, and Holland said her association is working to learn how it can apply for those funds. A single charger costs about $3,500 to install.

Georgia has almost 3,700 charging stations stateside. A research group, Atlas Public Police said Georgia will need 17,700 stations by 2030.


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