SEPA: Best practices for utility EV infrastructure deployment


The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has released a new report providing best practices for utilities to simplify and ensure a successful rollout of EV infrastructure programmes.

Utilities play an important role in their customers’ success, according to the Utility best practices for EV (electric vehicles) infrastructure deployment report.

Key study findings of the report and recommendations for successful EV infrastructure rollout include:

  • Utilities must start EV infrastructure planning now. Upgrades required could take years to complete.
  • A strong cross-functional EV team is vital to lead the utility through programme launch and project implementation. The dedicated team should have a broad scope, access to funding, and authority to make decisions.
  • Prioritise the customer experience at each level of EV infrastructure planning and project implementation.

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  • Consider EV programmes and process improvements that can benefit lower-income and underserved customers, and will support transportation and health equity.
  • Ensure that infrastructure deployed, either through utility programmes or otherwise, is technologically capable of participating in utility load management programmes.
  • The US requires 2 million EV charging ports by 2030.

Erika Myers, principal of transportation electrification at SEPA, said: “Utilities often focus on infrastructure deployment because it is commonly cited as one of the largest barriers to EV deployment.

“With billions of dollars of charging infrastructure being installed in the United States, it is critical that the utility industry share best practices to quickly and efficiently build the necessary charging network.”

Danielle Kievit, the manager of clean energy products at Puget Sound Energy, adds: “When customers are considering installing EV charging infrastructure, their first stop is often the utility.”

Skip Dise, the vice president of product management at Clean Power Research, said: “As the number of EV drivers rapidly grows, utilities need to develop a holistic strategy that engages their customers while involving key internal stakeholders in program management and system planning.”

April Bolduc, the president at S Curve Strategies, reiterates: “The most successful utility transportation electrification programmes prioritise the customer experience.”

This is the second report in a two-part series from SEPA. The first report, published in October 2019, called for utilities to be proactive in planning for a variety of EV infrastructure deployment scenarios and to better address internal and external program challenges.

This second report has been compiled using results from six utility case studies.

Read more about the report.