Electric vehicle (EV) adoption and charging infrastructure in the District of Columbia

The District is prioritizing the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) as a key strategy to reduce fossil fuel dependence, energy costs, air pollution, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the city. The transportation sector contributes more than 20% of the District’s GHG emissions. Achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 will require the District’s passenger vehicle fleets to shift almost entirely to zero GHG emission vehicles. With nearly 700,000 residents, 400,000 daily commuters, and 20.8 million annual visitors, electrifying transportation is critical to achieving the District’s clean energy plan and climate change commitments.
The Council of D.C. passed the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018, which gave the DCPSC authority to consider an application to promote transportation electrification through utility infrastructure ownership and other incentives. This legislation gave the DCPSC authority to approve an application for EV infrastructure if the proposal is in the public interest, consistent with the Mayor’s commitment to climate change, and consistent with District requirements that public utility rates be just and reasonable.

Charging infrastructure
The DCPSC approved, in part, Pepco’s Application for a Transportation Electrification (TE) Program in April 2019. The DCPSC authorized Pepco to provide “make-ready” infrastructure for the following purposes:
  • 35 public neighborhood smart Level II public chargers
  • 20 public DC fast chargers
  • 10 smart Level II EV chargers and two DC fast chargers for taxi and rideshare services
  • 5 Level II charging stations and one DC fast charger for public electric buses
Make-ready infrastructure is the electrical equipment and connections between the distribution system and the EV charger. This typically includes a utility meter, panel, and conduit. These make-ready facilities across different sectors of vehicles will encourage further EV adoption across the District in both public and private settings.
The April 2019 order also included approval for the rollout of a Residential Whole House Time-of-Use (TOU) rate for home EV charging, which encourages owners to charge EVs at off-peak hours — a critical element of any successful TE initiative. District residents are able to apply for the TOU rate directly from Pepco. Peak hours are Monday — Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 8 p.m., excluding holidays. All other hours are off-peak. A comparison of generation rates per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for Standard Offer Service (SOS) and Residential—Plug-in Vehicle (R-PIV) tariffs is provided below.
Generation Service Charge Residential SOS
June 22—Oct. 22
Residential R-PIV
June 22—Oct. 22
Residential SOS
Nov. 22—May 23
Residential R-PIV
Nov. 22—May 23
Standard kWh $0.06277   $0.07144  
Peak kWh   $0.10855   $0.15122
Off-peak kWh   $0.04415   $0.04915
Transportation Electrification Working Group
The DCPSC also created a temporary Transportation Electrification Working Group to explore and develop rebates for residential customers desiring to install an EVCS at their homes and address stakeholder concerns regarding barriers to deploying an EVCS at a multi-dwelling unit (MDU). The working group filed its report on January 29, 2020.

 The DCPSC addressed matters discussed in the report in a June 2022 order. This action included:
  • The DCPSC asked for the public to file comments on the proposals from the District Department of Energy and Environment and Pepco to modify the definition of EVCS make-ready infrastructure.
  • The DCPSC declined to approve Pepco’s proposal to provide up to 500 residential customers a $500 rebate for the price and installation of a smart Level II charger as only a select number of residents would benefit from the rebates.
  • The DCPSC declined to approve Pepco’s proposal to provide a 50% discount on smart Level II chargers and a 100% discount on the installation of 100 chargers at a MDU.
  • The DCPSC established a Time-of-Use rate for electric vehicle charging at MDUs and directed Pepco to file a tariff for this new rate.
  • The DCPSC directed Pepco to file a revised tariff page that includes an exception for EV chargers that would implement submetering at parking spaces in MDUs.
dditionally, the DCPSC expressed its support to increase the number of DC fast chargers to allow for faster charging for taxis and rideshare vehicles because such a charger can charge an EV from 10% to 80% in 30 minutes, quicker than smart Level II chargers.

Evaluations and analyses
The DCPSC, in its April 2019 order, directed Pepco to file additional documents:
  • TE Program Analysis, Evaluation, and Reassessment
    This report recommended reforms for the approved TE Program based on electric vehicle and EVCS deployment rates, system impacts, and MEDSIS (now PowerPath DC) outcomes.
  • EV Market Penetration Study
    This March 2022 study analyzed the distribution of registered EVs and the deployment of public EVCS by ward in the District. This enabled the DCPSC to assess the effectiveness of the competitive market at serving all parts of the District relative to market demand.
In the EV Market Penetration Study, Pepco recommended that it be permitted to re-allocate funds to increase the number of EVCS make-ready infrastructure for public neighborhood smart Level II chargers. Pepco also recommended that it be permitted to re-allocate funds for a rebate program for the bus depot and on-route chargers for EV buses.
Since stakeholders did not vet Pepco’s recommended proposals, the DCPSC asked for the public to provide comments on the recommendations. The DCPSC is diligently reviewing the public comments and other issues related to Pepco’s EVCS infrastructure recommendations and intends to take action on this matter soon.