Electric Vehicle Charging Bills Continue to Power through House and Senate

February 19, 2018

SB 908 (McClellan) and HB 922 (Bulova) were introduced to clarify and expand local authority to locate and operate a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on locality owned or leased property. Both bills continue to rapidly advance through the House and Senate.

These bills seek to modify 2011 legislation that enabled any “person” to operate such a charging station but left confusion in the ensuing years whether this language encompasses local governments. HB 922 and SB 908 clarify the code, stipulating that any locality, public institution of higher education, or the Department of Conservation and Recreation may install such charging stations. Additionally, the bill exempts these entities from being considered a “public utility” solely because of the sale of electric vehicle charging service or the ownership or operation of an electric vehicle charging station and exempts such service from constituting the retail sale of electricity. Those localities that already installed these stations will be retroactively authorized via this bill’s enabling clause.

VACo strongly supports both bills, speaking in favor of them in committee hearings and working with the patrons to further refine the concept, including drafting amendments that removed the requirement that the use of a charging station on local government property be restricted to employees of the locality and authorized visitors. Under the amended language, localities are still authorized to enact this restriction at their discretion, though it is no longer mandatory.

Senator Jennifer McClellan’s bill, SB 908, reported from the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee by a unanimous (14-0) vote and ultimately passed the full Senate unanimously (39-0) on February 9. SB 908 was referred to the House General Laws Committee where it also unanimously reported out (22-0) on February 15. The bill will now be heard on the floor of the House early this week.

Delegate David Bulova’s bill, HB 922, reported from the House General Laws Committee unanimously (22-0) and passed the House unanimously (100-0) on February 12 as a part of the Block Vote. HB 922 was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee, though it may end up being rereferred to Senate Commerce and Labor Committee as that committee previously handled SB 908.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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