Pioneer adopts PURPA Standard 1, incorporates portions of Standard 2
Earlier this year, Pioneer Electric Cooperative requested the active participation and feedback from its members, via Ohio Cooperative Living and pioneerec.com, regarding the new Demand-Response (DR) Standards and Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Standards. These requirements were introduced under the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, amending Title I of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). Cooperatives, and some other non-regulated electric utilities, were required to consider implementation of these standards.
The PURPA standards, as outlined PURPA Standards to Consider are designed to:
- Promote energy conservation provided by electric utilities.
- Optimize the efficiency of electric utilities’ facilities and resource utilization.
- Ensure fair and equitable rates for electric customers (as per 16 U.S.C. § 2611).
The deadline for members and the public to submit written comments was May 14, 2023. There were no comments submitted.
The Pioneer Board of Trustees also held a hearing on Tuesday, May 25, 2023, at Pioneer Electric headquarters located at 344 West U.S. Route 36, Piqua, Ohio. The purpose of the hearing was to consider any input provided, as well as what Pioneer is currently doing to determine whether to accept or decline the adoption of these standards.
Following a thorough evaluation of Pioneer’s existing DR and EV programs, the Pioneer Board has decided to adopt the PURPA DR standard and incorporate specific sections of its EV standards.
Adoption of PURPA Standard 1 (Demand Response Practices):
Pioneer’s Board has chosen to accept PURPA Standard 1 to actively encourage demand response practices. This commitment is already evident through Pioneer’s provision of rebates and incentives to residential members and the utilization of load management switches for peak demand control. Pioneer has implemented a demand-based rate structure for industrial and commercial members, further incentivizing demand management. Pioneer is also considering the implementation of time-of-use rates for residential consumers in the future, aimed at reducing electricity consumption during high-demand periods in line with the objectives of PURPA Standard 1.
Incorporation of portions of PURPA Standard 2 (Electric Vehicle Charging Programs):
Pioneer’s Board is also recommending the incorporation of Standard 2(a) and 2(d) as these aspects closely align with Pioneer’s strategic priorities. Pioneer’s primary focus is to make affordable and equitable electric vehicle charging options accessible to its cooperative members. This is achieved through rebates for Level 2 chargers (up to 8 kW) and the absence of impact fees for standard charger installations, one Level 2 charger for one electric service, thus increasing accessibility. Pioneer’s consideration of time-of-use rates, to ensure the appropriate recovery of costs associated with electric vehicle charging, is consistent with the goals set forth in PURPA Standard 2.
Pioneer has decided not to incorporate Standard 2(b) and 2(c) due to the cooperative’s commitment to its not-for-profit mission. Financial support for public EV infrastructure falls outside the scope of Pioneer’s mission, and there were concerns about the associated financial risks linked to investing in fast-charging infrastructure, which could directly impact its members.
Pioneer’s adoption of PURPA Standards 1 and selected portions of Standard 2 reflects its commitment to promoting demand response and supporting electric vehicle charging, all while being mindful of its mission and non-for-profit nature. These initiatives can help Pioneer provide value to its members and contribute to a more sustainable and efficient energy future.