What roadblocks and bottlenecks might slow or stall the deployment of an EV infrastructure project? Oh, let us count the ways! We recently learned of yet another variety of red tape: a utility approved vendor list.
Chris Kaiser, a veteran of the clean energy industry, recently posted an article about utility approved vendor lists and how they can be the bane of EV charging projects. He also spoke with John Halliwell of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) about a possible solution.
As Kaiser explains, utilities and state agencies often provide incentives to install clean energy technology—not out of benevolence, but because they’re required to do so by a regulatory agency or by legislation. “The regulation/law will lay out the framework of the incentive/grant, but it’s often up to the utility or state agency to fill in the technicalities of how it will all work, and the organizations often use consultants like CLEAResult or ICF to help administer the program.”
Project designers and installers are often required to choose hardware from an approved vendor list. As Kaiser writes, “There’s nothing more frustrating than having a great product/solution that’s perfect for a project, but not available because it’s not on a specific utility’s/state’s approved vendor list.”
“The problem when utilities vet their own approved vendor list is that their lists are often woefully short or inadequate or out of date,” Kaiser writes. “I can tell you many instances over the past year where an approved vendor list had only two approved vendors for Level 2 EV charging. We’re often forced to use an inferior solution for our customers because some utility ran a half-assed process 5 years ago and hasn’t updated the approved vendors while new and better products have entered the market.”
To address this problem, EPRI has created a Vetted Product List to make it easier for utilities and agencies to choose the latest and greatest products for infrastructure projects.
EPRI says its Vetted Product List is “the nation’s most comprehensive and consolidated resource for industry stakeholders, to include utilities and state agencies, to vet products and equipment for the deployment of electric vehicle charging and hardware systems. EPRI’s Vetted Product List evaluates equipment against criteria developed by industry consensus, utility input, and review of government agency requirements for the EVSE industry.”
Vendors may apply to have their equipment vetted against the list.
“If you’re an EV charging hardware vendor and you aren’t on the list…get on it now!” says Chris Kaiser. “If you’re a decision-maker at a utility or state agency…please adopt the list ASAP and stop using out-of-date bureaucratic processes to approve vendors.”
Source: Chris Kaiser