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Ameren (AEE) Arm Wins Regulatory Nod for New EV Charging Rates

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Ameren Corp.’s AEE subsidiary, Ameren Illinois, recently got regulatory approval for implementing its electric vehicle (EV) charging tariff from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). This sanction will enable the company to expedite installation of charging stations for EVs in central and southern parts of Illinois, thereby strengthening its position in the rapidly growing EV market.

This will allow Ameren’s customers to begin enrolling in the new rate options from Fall 2021.

Benefits of the Approval

Following the aforementioned approval, Ameren Illinois aims to develop a network of EV charging infrastructure across the state, considering the fact there are currently fewer than 60 publicly available charging stations across the state’s 44,000 sq. mile service territory.

Following this sanction, Ameren Illinois is set to offer special time-based delivery service rates and other incentives to boost adoption of EVs. These include special delivery service rates and incentives to encourage at-home charging during non-peak hours, for electric school bus operators as well as customers who operate public electric transit buses.

Post the latest approval, Ameren Illinois also aims at providing additional supplemental line extension allowances for charging station installations in low-income areas to support electric transportation for low-income customers.

All these initiatives will ultimately enable Ameren Illinois to play the role of a catalyst in meeting Illinois’ target to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2050.

Demand for Charging Stations & Utilities

Per a report by the International Council on Clean Transportation, more than 3 million EVs are expected to be on U.S. roads by 2025. Across major U.S. markets through 2017, only one-fourth of the workplace and public chargers needed by 2025 were in place. To achieve the 2025 target, charging infrastructure deployment will have to grow at about 20% per year. This reflects the growing need of charging stations across the United States.

Since rising EVs on the road means increased strain on the electric grid, electric utilities like Ameren, with deep rooted knowledge in maintaining such grids, are investing in expanding their charging infrastructure. The latest approval for new charging rates reflects one such initiative.

Other utilities are also rapidly investing in EV charging stations in other states as well. For instance, Edison International's EIX subsidiary, Southern California Edison (SCE) received regulatory approval in August 2020 for the expansion of its Charge Ready 2 EV charging infrastructure program. The program will be the nation’s largest light-duty EV charging program, which aims to add about 38,000 new chargers throughout the utility’s 50,000-square-mile service area.

In October 2020, Duke Energy DUK received approval for its electric transportation (ET) pilot programs through which it will install and operate 60 fast chargers across Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress South Carolina territories to provide a foundational level of infrastructure.

In June 2021, CMS Energy CMS announced that its subsidiary, Consumers Energy aims to help power 200 fast charging locations — and over 2,000 chargers at homes and businesses — over the next three years in Michigan.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

Ameren carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Shares of Ameren have gained 8.4% in the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 11.2%.

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