If someone wants to own an electric vehicle (EV), it is perfectly within their right to do so. That’s what it means to have freedom. But EV owners should be the ones to bear the burden of any costs associated with the necessary infrastructure improvements. And they should absolutely be responsible for paying for any excessive demand placed on the grid.
But that’s not the way the left sees it.
As part of its Green New Deal dream, the left has been pushing an agenda that significantly increases the amount of EVs on the road despite slowing demand from consumers and companies like Ford losing billions on them just this year. And Arizona utilities have fallen right in line, planning for 1 million EVs by 2030 while APS alone plans to have a 100% “carbon free” vehicle fleet as part of its commitment to go “Net Zero” by 2050.
So, how exactly was APS planning to do this? According to the Transportation Electrification Plan it submitted to the Arizona Corporation Commission, APS wants to force all ratepayers—including non-EV owners—to subsidize the costs associated with such an absurd goal. In the plan itself, APS asked for a budget of $5 million for its “Take Charge AZ” initiative that funds new EV chargers for private businesses along with an additional $4 million in subsidies for EV owners on the backs of other ratepayers.
This is not only unreasonable, but it’s unjust.
EVs are already highly subsidized. A recent study from the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) conservatively estimates that EVs receive nearly $50,000 in subsidies over 10 years from direct tax credits from federal and state governments, avoided gas taxes, and regulatory mandates. This unfairly socializes the costs of the demand EVs place on the grid to all ratepayers. On top of that, TPPF estimates that the costs associated with upgrading the grid to serve the EV electricity demand add up to $11,883 per EV over 10 years! And once again, this cost is incurred by all ratepayers. The last thing EV owners should be getting is more ratepayer subsidies!
That’s why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club helped lead the charge to ask the Arizona Corporation Commission to oppose these unfair EV subsidies with around 340 comments submitted against APS’s plan. And Commissioners Kevin Thompson and Jim O’Connor heard us loud and clear. Thompson authored an amendment that rejected APS’s request to use up to $5 million in ratepayer funds to develop and install EV charging infrastructure as part of its “Take Charge AZ” program. And O’Connor amended the plan to ensure that any EV rebates offered by APS are done so at the expense of shareholders not ratepayers.
This is a big win for ratepayers, the overwhelming majority of whom do not own an EV or use EV charging stations and therefore shouldn’t be faced with such a financial burden. But while it is an important win, it once again highlights the need to rid ourselves of radical ESG commitments entirely. This program would have cost ratepayers $5 million, but their ESG Net Zero commitments would cost ratepayers $6 billion. Now, it’s time for the Corporation Commission to finish the job by putting an end to radical ESG plans for Arizona’s utilities once and for all.
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