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Indiana Senate OKs regulatory changes for electric-vehicle charging

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A state senator on Monday said legislation should clear up confusion over how to regulate charging stations for electric vehicles.

The Senate approved a measure that would let the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approve pricing structures for retail energy service. It also would allow anyone who makes electric-vehicle charging stations available to the public to charge by kilowatt-hour rather than a fixed dollar or time amount.

In addition, the measure lets public utilities apply to the Utility Regulatory Commission to set up public-use electric-vehicle pilot programs, including school buses and transit, and directs the commission to adopt the necessary rules. That drew opposition from Sen. Aaron Freeman, a Republican from Indianapolis, who said it would leave ratepayers with the bill for any such programs and ultimately lead to higher utility bills.

“We get into these things that we can’t get out of,” he said. “You all can chase federal dollars all we want but when we’re back in this chamber in two years, five years, and Hoosiers are talking about their rates have gone up, we can look at this as one of those votes.”

Sen. Eric Koch, a Republican from Bedford, said electric-vehicle pilot programs will allow Indiana policymakers to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

“The IURC can and will approve EV pilots with or without this bill,” he said. “This bill provides limits and parameters should the commission approve those pilots, and there’s a very high threshold of approval.”

The bill already passed the House unanimously. It has to go back to the lower chamber due to changes the Senate made.