Quantifying the Financial Impacts of Electric Vehicles on Utility Ratepayers and Shareholders

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Widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption is critical for meeting economy-wide decarbonization goals and, as a result, states are considering enabling policies and rate designs to accelerate EV deployment.  EVs can provide possible financial upside to electric utilities and ratepayers in several ways. For example, from the utility perspective, EVs could drive increased electricity sales and new earnings opportunities through increased capital investments. From the ratepayer perspective, increased electric loads from EVs could reduce average all-in retail rates. The degree to which there are net benefits or costs to shareholders and/or ratepayers depends on how EVs are integrated and managed through enabling grid investments and charging strategies. Using Berkeley Lab’s Financial Impacts of Distributed Energy Resources (FINDER) model that mimics the electric utility investment planning and ratemaking processes, we estimate the utility earnings and customer rate impacts of EVs using a bookend approach of “managed” (i.e., best case) and “mismanaged” (i.e., worst case) charging strategies for a generic summer-peaking, investor-owned, and vertically integrated utility. The analysis also examines the sensitivity of results to different assumptions of EV deployment characteristics, EV impacts on retail electricity sales, incremental distribution system costs, EV charging location, and utility EV enablement costs (i.e., utility costs to invest in EV charging, controls, and communication to deliver and administer EV programs). The results are intended to inform EV policies and deployment strategies that maximize utility system benefits and minimize ratepayer costs.

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A webinar recorded on February 22, 2023, discussing this study can be viewed here.  


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