American Experiment’s testimony on a bill allowing electric companies to charge you more to build EV chargers

On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, Center of the American Experiment’s policy fellow Isaac Orr testified on House File 1668 in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

This bill, in enacted, will allow electric companies like Xcel Energy to increase the cost of your electricity so they can build charging stations for electric vehicles. You can see Isaac’s testimony and read the transcript below.

Mr. Chair and Members of the Committee,

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on House File 1668. My name is Isaac Orr, and I am a policy fellow specializing in energy and environmental policy at Center of the American Experiment.

American Experiment fully supports the Minnesotans who want to purchase and drive electric vehicles. It’s their right as an American to drive whatever car they want. However, we strongly oppose measures that will force other Minnesotans to foot the bill for this decision. As a result, we have grave concerns about the public utility cost recovery measures and EV rebates in this legislation.

Energy prices for electricity and home heating are already skyrocketing in Minnesota, and this legislation would force low- and middle-income Minnesota families to pay even higher electricity prices to subsidize the use of electric vehicles by their wealthier Minnesota counterparts.

If Xcel Energy wishes to build EV charging stations in Minnesota, they should form an unregulated subsidiary company and compete in the marketplace. They should not be allowed to recover costs, and a government-approved profit, on the backs of captive ratepayers.  Shareholders should be exposed to the risk or reward of this venture, not electricity consumers.

Tesla didn’t need a monopoly and government-approved profit to build EV charging stations, why does Xcel?

Furthermore, the cost of grid upgrades for electric vehicles should be borne by EV purchasers, and not by utility customers at large. The Boston Consulting Group recently found it would cost between $1,700 and $5,800 in grid upgrades per  EV  through 2030. Allowing utilities to rate-base these upgrades will lead to huge increases in electricity costs at a time when Xcel is already seeking to raise its prices by 21.2 percent over just three years.

We support EVs, but we firmly oppose trickle-down environmentalism.