Environment

Louisville will be getting up to 10 more public electric vehicle charging stations.

Today, the Kentucky Public Service Commission approved a plan to let public utility Louisville Gas and Electric operate the chargers in its service territory. It also sets guidelines for other businesses who want to do so.

There are already 13 public charging stations in Louisville, though five are at car dealerships. With Monday’s decision, LG&E can install its own chargers around the city. The PSC order also sets up a framework for the company to charge non-residential customers who want to install charging stations.

If either a commercial or industrial customer wants to install a public charging station, they have two choices. The charging stations can be metered, and the host can pay a monthly fee for the station — and for the electricity that’s used — at the company’s current monthly rate. Or, the charging station can be unmetered, and the customer can pay a higher set monthly fee to cover the cost of the electricity used.

Either way, the charging station’s host can charge a fee to people who plug in at the station.

The stations operated by LG&E will charge users $2.85 an hour. Kentucky Utilities will also install 10 chargers in its service area; the rate for those chargers will be $2.88 an hour.

Electric vehicle enthusiast group EVolve Kentucky president Stuart Ungar said the move is good news for Kentuckians who drive vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or Tesla.

“There’s a huge environmental part of this, where EVs are just better as far as environmental impact goes,” he said. “So, as far as we’re concerned, the more EVs we see on the road, the happier we are.”

EVolve Kentucky already has two public chargers in Louisville through the group’s “Adopt-a-Charger” program; those chargers are free for the public.

But Ungar said LG&E would have access to more high-traffic, high-profile locations. He said a charger near the Yum! Center, for example, would probably appeal to a lot of people.

“For a location like that, it might make sense to charge a certain amount because you’re going to be paying for parking when you see the shows and stuff anyway,” he said. “So if you have a nice spot as an EV driver, and you get a little bit of a perk, that’s great.”

The LG&E and KU electric vehicle chargers are designed to pay for themselves, so the companies aren’t seeking a general rate increase.