After Ameren proposed taking a stab at installing electric vehicle charging stations through a pilot program in 2016, state utility regulators declined oversight of the technology — leaving the company with no assurances about recovering investments in charging stations and leaving its future involvement in the arena in doubt.
But through a Public Service Commission filing announced Thursday, Ameren says it is back in the game of promoting electric vehicles. Unveiling an approximately $18 million program called “Charge Ahead,” the St. Louis-based utility proposes incentivizing the installation of about 1,200 charging plugs in its service territory as well as the adoption of electrified vehicles, such as forklifts, in commercial settings.
If the plan is approved by the PSC, Ameren would partner with third-party companies to install the charging stations — which officials clarified would amount to about 1,200 individual “plugs” for customer use, rather than 1,200 separate facilities. The company intends for the stations to be concentrated near interstate highway corridors, workplaces, multifamily housing and other public spaces, and to offer a combination of fast- and slow-charging services.
Ameren said typical charging stations — with plugs for two cars — cost about $20,000 apiece, with commercial fast-charging units for single cars carrying a price tag of $50,000.
Although total electricity usage in Ameren’s service territory — and around the country — has tapered off in recent years, the company said its foray into electric vehicles is not seen as a way to reverse that trend.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch