ComEd has submitted its plan to support the adoption of beneficial electrification (BE) technologies, including customer adoption of electric vehicles (EV), to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), which regulates the state’s public utilities.
ComEd is proposing to commit $100 million annually over the next three years to promote BE with programs designed to reduce upfront costs of EVs and charging equipment; enable broad, equitable deployment of charging infrastructure and other electrification technologies; educate customers; and prioritize investments equitably for communities in need.
Through a mix of incentives, new rate design options, and educational and technical support, ComEd’s plan would help promote the transition to clean transportation and other clean technologies. The proposed investments would prioritize low-income customers and customers residing in environmental justice and Restore, Reinvest, Renew (R3) communities, as defined by the State of Illinois.
“ComEd is committed to supporting a clean energy future that promotes cleaner air and safer communities, and that helps all of our communities achieve the goals set forward by the state’s new clean energy law,” says Gil C. Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “The threat of climate change requires us to take swift action to reduce emissions by moving faster to adopt cleaner technologies. Designed with input from a wide range of local stakeholders and experts, our plan will reduce barriers for customers and support broad adoption of electrification across homes, schools, and communities in our region – keeping the state at the forefront for clean energy while creating the infrastructure needed to eliminate harmful emissions across all our communities.”
ComEd made the announcement during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a recently installed Multi-Unit Dwelling (MUD) EV charging station at 43rd Street and Calumet Avenue in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. This installation is the first of five planned MUD charging stations that will serve residential properties with three or more units and enable research funded in part by a U.S. Department of Energy grant. EV charging infrastructure, and especially infrastructure designed to provide accessibility to all communities, is vital for the broad adoption of EVs. The new BE Plan, combined with state and federal programs, will further expand deployment of EV infrastructure across northern Illinois.
“For too long, the health of our communities has been negatively impacted by harmful air pollution, but CEJA is giving us an opportunity to reverse that trend and accelerate the transition to EVs,” comments Billy Davis, general manager of Jitney EV and a member of the Bronzeville Community of the Future Advisory Council. “The Beneficial Electrification plan ComEd is proposing will give a much-needed boost to our efforts in Bronzeville and across the region to electrify transportation, eliminate charging deserts, improve air quality and create economic opportunities for new businesses.”
The BE Plan includes $15 million annually in incentives that will reduce upfront costs related to purchase and installation of EVs, in-home charging stations and non-transportation electrification equipment (such as building heating and cooling, lawn equipment, electric stoves, etc.). Larger rebates will be available for low-income customers and those located in environmental justice and/or equity investment eligible communities. To ensure those with the greatest needs have access to resources, ComEd will target 50% of its residential program funds for customers in equity investment eligible communities.
“CACC encourages the use of clean fuel vehicles, clean fuels and advanced vehicle technologies to promote an improved environment, energy efficiencies, domestic and renewable fuels, and a reduction in the use of imported petroleum,” states John Walton, chair of the Chicago Area Clean Cities (CACC) coalition. “Electric vehicles have a role in furthering our mission to improve air quality and reduce lung disease, and ComEd’s beneficial electrification plan will help expand access to infrastructure and encourage more robust EV participation for our region.”
“While Illinois has dramatically cut air pollution from fossil fuel power plants, vehicles are now the number one cause of carbon pollution in Illinois” adds Brian Urbaszewski, director of environmental health programs at Respiratory Health Association. “With a focus on getting more zero-emission electric vehicles in communities, ComEd’s Beneficial Electrification plan is a serious roadmap for improving air quality precisely where the combination of high lung disease rates and unhealthy air pollution levels present the greatest threat to area residents.”
To reduce the cost barriers associated with purchasing fleet vehicles and installing charging stations, the plan proposes $63 million annually to support new rebates for fleet electrification, with the majority of funding going toward vehicle rebates for public transit, commercial and school fleets. Funding will also support charging installation costs for public sector customers and public charging providers in environmental justice or R3 communities. Across the C&I and Public Sector Program, ComEd will target more than 40% of funding for customers within or primarily serving equity investment eligible communities.
In addition to incentives, ComEd is proposing a dedicated EV charging delivery customer class for (commercial and industrial (C&I) customers. The new rate class would significantly reduce upfront infrastructure or “make-ready” costs and would provide members an alternative to the default demand-based rate structures, which, at low utilization rates, can make the cost of charging high for customers.
A $9 million community education program will empower customers to make the transition to electrification. This program will help residential and business customers understand the timeline and impact of electrifying personal vehicles and fleets, as well as how utility programs and rates can benefit them. ComEd is also proposing $5 million annually for pilots to study the benefits of various electrification strategies for customers and the grid.
While most of the BE Plan focuses on clean transportation, ComEd is also proposing a set of non-transportation rebates to work in tandem with energy efficiency offerings to spur adoption of electric technologies in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.