Missouri legislator wants to unplug utilities using consumer money to build EV charging stations




A Missouri legislator thinks utilities should not be allowed to use ratepayers money to pay for electric car charging stations. Sen. Doug Libla, a Republican from Poplar Bluff has introduced Senate Bill 825 to prohibit utilities from using money from customers to pay for their neighbors’ electric cars.

According to the Missouri Public Service Commission, Missouri had about 12 electric vehicles for every charging station and sold more than 1,000 electric vehicles in 2017.

John Coffman, representing the Consumers Council of Missouri, spoke in support of the bill and cited concerns he has about residential electric customers subsidizing a competitive business. Coffman said that while he supports the advancement of electric vehicles, it is important that monopoly services are limited only to essential services.

“I don’t think most people think it would be fair to let the monopoly water company get in to car washes,” Coffman said.

Jason Klindt, who spoke in opposition to the bill, is director of government affairs at Evergy, which is based in Kansas City and has hundreds of charging stations. Most of their stations, Klindt said, can be found in parking lots at places like Kohl’s and Walmart.

There are more than 100 public charging stations in the St. Louis area according to The Missourian newspaper.

Klindt emphasized the growing presence of electric cars in society and the efforts of companies like Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. to dedicate more of their efforts to electric cars, which are cheaper to maintain over their lifetime.

“We don’t view the charging station as the product we’re selling. We sell electricity,” Klindt said. “There’s a demand for electricity from EV drivers, and we are responding to that demand.”

Frances Babb of Clarkson Valley said she and her husband both own electric cars.

“I believe that electric vehicles are the future of transportation in this country and that Ameren and the convenience stores need to adjust to changing times and make way for these electric charging stations,” Babb said. “I oppose this bill because I believe that as a state we should try to encourage the infrastructure development of electric vehicles, not discourage it.”

Babb said when she left the Capitol, she was going to drive her Tesla to a Dairy Queen in Kingdom City to charge it.

Source: The Missourian