Friday, February 18, 2011

Help make Maryland EV Friendlier

Support for 3 bills currently before the Maryland Senate

In the current session of the Maryland Senate there are three important bills which will effect EV drivers in the state.  At this month's EVA/DC public meeting, group vice-present, the extremely affable Charlie Garlow brought to my attention these bills and as we both support these issue, with his permission I am reproducing them here. As I don't actually live in Maryland I don't have a state Delegate or Senator in the Maryland General Assembly, I don't have anyone in the legislative branch to whom I can write, but I'd be happy to address letters of this nature to the Governor's office as a concerned citizen of a neighboring state, but as he proposed these bills, I'd just be preaching to the choir.  I would encourage anyone in the state of Maryland to look up your Delegate and Senator and send them a letter like the ones below to encourage them to pass laws that will keep Maryland green!

Electric Companies - Pilot Program for Charging Electric Vehicles (SB 179)

Requiring the Public Service Commission to establish a pilot program for charging electric vehicles by June 30, 2013; authorizing an electric company to request to participate in the pilot program; requiring the pilot program to include incentives for residential, commercial, and governmental customers to recharge electric vehicles in ways that will accomplish specified goals; and requiring the Commission to report to the Governor and the General Assembly on the program by February 1, 2015.

Dominion Virginia Power is proactively developing new Electric Vehicle Residential rates, part 1 of which is available in a previous post, and it only seems fair that the state of Maryland should consider the same.  Currently, 6 power utilities (PU) operate in Maryland:

Of these, PEPCO and BG&E are the biggest.  This bill would act similarly to the Dominion Virginia Power EV pilot program in that it would establish special billing rates for a limited number of homes with electric vehicles.  It would then monitory electricity usage by these homes in order to establish a long-term resource requirements as the number of homes with electric vehicles increases within the state.

As of 17 February, the bill has passed the Maryland Senate on its third reading but has yet to be taken up by the Maryland House of Delegates.  The text of the bill can be found here.

Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (SB 176)

Establishing the Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council; specifying the membership and staffing of the Council; requiring the Governor to designate the chair or cochairs of the Council; prohibiting members of the Council from receiving specified compensation, but authorizing the reimbursement of specified expenses; requiring the Council to submit an interim and a final report by specified dates; defining terms; etc.

This bill would establish a commission to investigate the needs of the state of Maryland in support of an increasing Electric Vehicle population in the state.  The main focus will be to establish public Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE) stations at locations convenient for on-the-go charging.  The establishment of such a panel will go far to mollify the fallacy of range anxiety.  What's more, there's a good chance my friend Charlie could be appointed to this committee, and as vice-president of the EVSE he's well-versed about the needs of electric vehicle owners on Maryland.

As of this post, this bill is stuck in the Maryland Senate Finance Committee since 26 January.  Sending letters to both your state Senators and state Delegates will go a long way to moving this bill through the general assembly.  The text of the bill can be found here.

Income Tax - Tax Credit for Electric Vehicle Recharging Equipment (SB 177)

Allowing a State income tax credit for tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013 only, for 20% of the cost of qualified electric vehicle recharging equipment placed in service by a taxpayer during a taxable year; providing for administration of the tax credit by the Maryland Energy Administration; limiting the credit to taxpayers receiving initial tax credits from the Administration; limiting the tax credit to $400 for each individual recharging system; etc.

This bill has piqued the most interest for me personally.  When the EVSE Tax Credit was extended in 2010, it was restored to its pre-2009 levels of 30%, $1,000 max.  This meant that, effectively, the credit has been reduced your credit by 20% of your original installation value between 2010 and 2011.  SB 177 plugs that gap by restoring that 20%, up to $400, when you file your Maryland state taxes.  Although I've already taken my credit (though have yet to file), many people in Maryland are waiting for when they can buy an electric car, and 2011 is looking good here, so it's very likely if you're buying an EV in 2011, you'll want to install an EVSE in 2011.  Thus, this credit should be quite popular this year.

What's more, as I stated in a previous post, many people won't be able to declare the EVSE tax credit in 2011 if they buy an EV the same year.  What's more, if one installs photovoltaics or other Residential energy credits, one could also easily face the AMT pitfall.  Thus, for many people, this credit for one's Maryland taxes may be the only tax credit one sees for the purchase of an EVSE in 2011.

As of this post, the bill is stuck in the Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee since 26 January.  Sending letters to both your state Senators and state Delegates will go a long way to moving this bill through the general assembly.  The text of the bill can be found here.

Opened Letter

This open letter was written by Charlie Garlow and is provided as a sample for you to use, which I have modified slightly, to compose your own letter to your state Delegate, state Senator and Governor Martin O'Malley.  You can find your Delegate and Senator here or simply call 1-800-492-7122.  So show your support for making Maryland an EV friendlier state and write today!


Members of the Maryland House of Delegates, Members of the Maryland Senate Annapolis, MD 21401

Dear Governor, Senators and Delegates,

I am an electric vehicle owner and advocate and urge for your support for SB 179, which would establish a pilot program for residential electric vehicle charging, SB 176, which would set up a commission to improve Maryland's electric vehicle infrastructure and SB 177, which would enact an electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) tax credit to supplement the credit reduced by the federal government in 2011 and would still be available when faced with the Alternative Minimum Tax elimination of the credit at the federal level. I ask for you to vote for these bills, sponsored by the Governor because it will promote clean, electric transportation in Maryland and will make Maryland a leader in new technologies, drawing more clean inductry and jobs to our state.

Your name, address and e-mail

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