Electrify America super EV chargers via wikimedia

Electric Grid Upgrades Needed For EVs May Increase Costs For All Consumers in Illinois

Proposed legislation in Illinois aimed at fast tracking the state’s electrical grid upgrades to support government mandates for electric vehicle (EV) charging has encountered opposition due to concerns over who will bear the costs.

The Powering Up Illinois Act, presented in House Bill 5610, mandates that electrical companies operating in the state upgrade the electrical distribution systems to meet Illinois’ decarbonization targets.

Muhammed Patel, a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Clean Vehicles and Fuels team, gave his take on the act, claiming, “Fast charging stations for passenger vehicles often sit idle waiting for power. The act assures that we can address these delays in the short term while giving us the long term framework to plan and invest adequately.”

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However, State Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-Geneva, raised concerns about the financial burden on all electric ratepayers, regardless of whether they own an EV or not. “The 70-year-old couple who are on a fixed income are going to pay for the upgrades now whether they use or see it or not,” Ugaste pointed out.

This sentiment illustrates the unfairness of spreading the costs of EV infrastructure among all consumers, particularly those who may not directly benefit from it or those on a fixed income.

The measure has advanced out of committee, albeit with several lawmakers voting against it, and now awaits consideration on the House floor.

Failing to address the concerns of those who may be disproportionately affected by these upgrades could lead to significant voter backlash against the party responsible for passing such legislation.

Governor J.B. Pritzker has set an overly ambitious goal of having 1 million EVs on Illinois roads by 2030 which would be a dramatic increase over the 76,000 EVs registered in the state as of July last year.

Despite the push for EV adoption, Americans have been reluctant to switch from their gas-powered vehicles, and for good reason.

EV manufacturers, such as Tesla, Ford, and General Motors, have resorted to price cuts and potentially reintroducing plug-in hybrids to boost sales, signaling a possible step back from their earlier commitments to pure EVs.

On top of that several EV startups most recently Fisker are close to going belly up or like Ford dramatically scaling back their efforts in the EV market.

Chet Thompson, President and CEO of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, criticized federal and state governments for fast-tracking policies that limit consumer choice and potentially end the availability of new gas cars.

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“The fact that consumers in a couple years are literally going to be robbed of their ability to choose the cars that are most popular and most meet their needs, that is not something that people are happy about,” Thompson stated.