Why sparks are flying over Duke Energy's $76M electric-vehicle program

Why sparks are flying over Duke Energy's $76M electric-vehicle program

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Energy Corp.’s $76 million electric-vehicle pilot program in North Carolina wins significant support from environmental groups. But the state’s utility customer advocate recommends rejecting it as unnecessary and largely a plan to gain approval for capital investments before the money is spent, contrary regulatory practice.

The Public Staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission is not alone in its opposition to the plan unveiled in March. The N.C. Sustainable Energy Association and the N.C. Clean Energy Business Association have also called on the commission to reject at least part of the pilot program. Electrify America, which plans a fast-charging station in North Carolina, also raised concerns while not directly calling on the commission to reject the proposals for the charging stations for electric vehicles, or EVs.

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Lang Reynolds, Duke’s director of electric transportation, defends the proposals by its utilities. He says it will provide specific data on how N.C. customers use chargers, help foster EV markets and give Duke important information about how power demand will change as customers turn increasingly to modes of transportation driven by electricity.

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