We reached out to Virginia Delegate David Bulova of Fairfax County who has introduced bill HB922 that would give authority required under Dillon’s Rule to enable local governments, state universities, community colleges, and parks to operate retail fee-based electric vehicle charging stations. It also exempts localities that own or operate fee-based EV charging stations from being considered a public utility or service company under Virginia regulations.
As introduced, Virginia HB922 would require the charging stations to be restricted to employees and authorized visitors only. However, that restriction could be removed from the bill according to the sponsor. HB922 would amend a law passed in 2017 that gives authority to school boards to operate retail fee-based EV charging stations on their property. § 22.1-131.
We had a few questions that we posed to Delegate Bulova who kindly responded. His answers are highlighted in red below.
Questions and Answers On HB922 with Delegate Bulova
1. Is this bill simply to give enabling authority to localities to install fee-based EV charging stations pursuant to the Dillon Rule or is there another purpose or purposes?
Correct, because of the Dillon Rule, local governments need authorization from the General Assembly to install fee-based EV charging stations. This bill not only provides this authority to local governments, but also state universities, community colleges, and parks.
2. Must all EV charging stations require payment under this bill?
No, anyone can give electricity away for free. That does not change with this bill. A change to the law is only required to allow for fee-based EV charging stations. The problem solved by this bill is that anyone who sells electricity is considered a public utility under the Code of Virginia and would be regulated as such. HB922 makes an exception to the public utility law for fee-based EV systems operated by local governments.
3. How will this affect situations where the locality does not wish to collect a fee for EV charging like the City of Norfolk planning to offer free charging with donated charging equipment from Tesla? See: The Virginian-Pilot article.
This bill will not affect a local government that does not want to collect a fee.
4. What is the reasoning behind the provision that the charging stations must be restricted to employees and authorized visitors? Has any consideration been given to allowing unrestricted access to the public at nights and weekends similar to the conditions allowed under § 22.1-131 for school property?
That restriction will likely be taken out of the bill provided that localities don’t want it to be kept in. This language came from the provisions for school property. The school system representatives actually asked to have a restriction during the day. That concept was carried over (albeit a little more broadly) in the draft language to the other entities. However, provided that localities don’t want or need the restriction, my intention is to have it taken out.
David L. Bulova
Virginia House of Delegates
PlugInSites thanks Delegate Bulova for helping our readers gain a better understanding of this bill.
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