December 15, 2021
Phoenix — Conservation and public interest groups today welcomed the Arizona Corporation Commission’s (ACC’s) vote to approve the final phase of a comprehensive Transportation Electrification Plan that aims to foster electric vehicle use, charging infrastructure development, and innovative rate designs for electric vehicle (EV) charging. The vote also requires regulated utilities to provide ongoing comprehensive plans at least every three years and report annually on their progress.
“The ACC’s approval of the final phase of this comprehensive transportation electrification plan will help Arizona reduce harmful pollution from fossil-fueled vehicles while taking steps that will help reap the economic benefits of the ongoing nationwide transition to electric vehicles,” said Aaron Kressig, Western Resource Advocates’ transportation electrification manager. “We are pleased that the ACC has directed Arizona’s electric utilities to bring forward substantive transportation electrification plans that will include new incentives, investments, and programs to increase the availability of EV charging. These plans will speed EV adoption across the state, helping Arizona act on climate change and improve air quality.”
“Comprehensive planning by utilities for greater electric vehicle adoption will provide a roadmap for infrastructure and relevant policies needed in our state,” said Diane E. Brown, executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “Reporting specific progress toward greater electric vehicle adoption can help ensure the utilities stay on course to provide ratepayers with bill savings, while protecting our air and health.”
“All Arizonans stand to benefit from this plan, even those who don’t drive electric,” said Ellen Zuckerman, utility program co-director for SWEEP. “With more electric cars on our roads, we can lower utility rates, improve air quality, and boost public health outcomes. This decision sends a strong signal that Arizona is serious about transportation electrification and all of its great benefits.”
The final Phase II Transportation Electrification Plan applies to the electric utilities the ACC regulates: Arizona Public Service Company (APS), Tucson Electric Power (TEP), and UNS Electric (UNSE). Recognizing the need to plan for transportation electrification across the state, in 2019 the ACC required utilities to file a joint, long-term plan for Arizona. The first phase provided a conceptual framework for transportation planning in the state. The second phase approved today outlines a comprehensive and actionable roadmap for transportation electrification in Arizona and stakeholder engagement.
Importantly, the ACC today voted to approve several amendments offered by Commissioner Anna Tovar and Chairwoman Lea Márquez Peterson that Western Resource Advocates, Arizona PIRG Education Fund, and SWEEP supported. These amendments require the utilities to develop and file for future commission review and approval a budget associated with their respective plans and to report semi-annually on progress.
Western Resource Advocates, Arizona PIRG Education Fund, and SWEEP also applaud Commissioner Sandra Kennedy for introducing a proposal to direct APS, TEP, and UNSE to design and implement programs to maximize the number of electric vehicles on our roads. While this proposal failed to advance, it acknowledged the substantial benefits that electric vehicles are poised to offer Arizonans. Instead, the commission approved a “moderate” electric vehicle adoption scenario that is projected to deliver approximately $12 billion to all ratepayers by 2040 through reduced electricity rates.