EV Charging Station Bill Goes to NH House Floor Without Recommendation

EV Charging Station Bill Goes to NH House Floor Without Recommendation

A bill pertaining to the regulation and operation of electric vehicle charging stations in New Hampshire will go to the House floor without a firm recommendation from the legislative committee reviewing it.

The House Committee on Science, Technology and Energy on April 18 deliberated Senate Bill 52, which proposes modernizing state statutes for electric vehicle infrastructure construction projects and establishes a committee to study funding and other related matters.

The House panel wrangled over several components of the bill---including the merits of establishing the dedicated committee to dig deeper into the issue---though the bill and several proposed amendments failed passage and were split along partisan lines.

Ultimately, the committee concluded deliberations with an agreement to forward SB 52 onto the House floor for a vote at an upcoming meeting without a firm recommendation.

State Rep. Michael Harrington, R-Stafford, said, “I have a lot of issues with the bill,” including the potential burden on taxpayers.

“If you don’t have an electric vehicle, you’re not getting any advantage of having the electrical vehicle charging stations,” Harrington said. “I don’t want to see that cost be pushed around to the ratepayers.”

But other committee members favored the bill, asserting New Hampshire needed to take whatever preliminary steps necessary to ramp up electric vehicle charging infrastructure to keep pace with neighboring states.

“If we do not have adequate charging infrastructure in this state, what’s going to happen is that people from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey are not going to come here because they’ll feel like they won’t be able to charge up and get home,” said state Rep. Thomas Cormen, D-Lebanon.

Cormen added, “Our tourism industry will start to see it. We will start to see a decline in meals and rooms taxes as a result.”

Other committee members took aim at the provision calling for forming a committee to explore the issue.

State Rep. Jeanine Notter, R-Merrimack, said a specific bill component would increase the size of state government.

“We already have over 150 commissions and committees,” Notter said. “We have to pay mileage, which is costing the taxpayers money. We have paid researchers; let them do their job. We don’t need another committee.”

SB 52 was one of a dozen pieces of legislation on the committee calendar April 18.

Other legislative items, such as Senate Bill 166, passed out of committee with bipartisan support.

SB 166 proposes electric grid modernization and calls on the state Department of Energy and Public Utilities Commission to adopt strategies around the concept.

The bill passed out of committee on a unanimous 20-0 vote.

“This is a good idea, but don’t underestimate how much time and work it’s going to take,” Harrington said.

We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

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