Last Thursday, the Coalition testified in support of Senate Bill 53. The following text is the transcript of the Coalition’s testimony.
Good afternoon, Senator Fields and fellow committee members. My name is Britton Naas, and I’m here representing the Coalition of Ratepayers in support of Senator Cooke’s bill.
The Coalition of Ratepayers is a Colorado non-profit concerned with issues that impact small businesses and residential ratepayers.
First, we acknowledge and agree with those who have already testified in support of the bill. However, we are here to address the issue from a different consumer’s perspective – that of Colorado’s electric ratepayers. We believe that if this bill isn’t passed, Colorado’s low-income electric customers will have to pay the price.
While former Governor Hickenlooper issued his Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standard last summer, he chose not to include a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate. However, he did address ZEVs and many stakeholders suspected one would be coming if Jared Polis was elected. Within two weeks of being sworn into office, Governor Polis issued an executive order that initiated the rule making process for a ZEV mandate. What was the Gov. Polis’s reasoning? Apparently, a bunch of people who testified in favor of Governor Hickenlooper’s executive order on LEVs also voiced their support for a zero-emission vehicle mandate.
Currently, electric vehicles make up only 1 percent of Colorado’s total vehicle registrations. Mandating a massive increase in the number of ZEVs on the road will require low income Coloradans to pay for the cars and the additional infrastructure needed to accommodate the ZEVs.
But a build out of charging stations won’t be enough, since high demand charges accompany direct-current fast-charging stations, the type of station that can completely re-charge a battery in 30 minutes. According a Reuters article, a high demand charge coupled with the price of the actual energy can cost someone $70 to $110 per charging session at a direct-current fast-charging station.
If the initial, upfront cost of an electric vehicle doesn’t turn away prospective buyers, this most certainly will.
There is of course, a costly solution: equip each station with enough storage capacity. The batteries can be charged at a steady pace during the low demand periods of the day, and then the energy stored can be used to charge EVs. This will decrease or avoid the demand charge, but it will also increase the construction cost of each charging station, which ultimately raises the amount paid by each ratepayer.
There has not been enough vetting of how much all of this, Regulation 20 and the ZEV mandate, will cost auto dealers, buyers and electricity ratepayers. Before we mandate anything, we should have a cost and we don’t. We just know it will be expensive.
We applaud Senator Cooke for bringing this bill forward and hope the committee will take a favorable approach to it.