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Car charging bills sailing through Utah Legislature

Published February 19, 2014 12:55 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A bill that would enable businesses to sell power for charging electric vehicles sailed through a House committee Wednesday.

Sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, HB19 is aimed at making ownership of such cars easier by expanding charging infrastructure around the state. These vehicles' range is limited to about 80 miles, yet there are few public places to recharge in Utah.

This is because state law regulates any business that sells electricity as a utility, according to Arent.

"I can't think of any grocery store that would want to jump through those hoops," Arent told the House Public Utilities Committee.

Fast-charging equipment is expensive, so retail and other businesses interested in installing it would want to be able to recoup costs by charging customers — which they cannot do under current law. Changing the law will encourage private investment that will lead to greater use of electric vehicles, according to Kevin Emerson of Utah Clean Energy.

"It's good for businesses who want to help provide opportunities for their customers or employees to charge electric vehicles while they are shopping or at work," he said.

Brian Maffly