Reliable and accessible EV charging infrastructure is vital to support the growth of the electric vehicle industry. However, it’s not unusual for EV charging station owners to face delays caused by utility approvals. Don't worry, we're here to help.
In this article, we'll share practical and proven strategies for streamlining the approval process with utility providers, enabling you to efficiently install and operate EV charging stations that meet the needs of drivers and support the transition to a cleaner, greener future.
1. Research and plan
Developing a solid plan is essential if you want to avoid or reduce delays caused by utility approvals. Before the outset of the project, take some time to research the local utility requirements and EV charging station regulations. Understanding these regulations upfront or during the early stages will help you to identify potential issues or roadblocks that may cause delays later on.
The plan should contain detailed information about your site, equipment, charging management software, and installation process. The more detailed the plan is, the more successfully you will clearly communicate your intentions to the utility provider. It will help to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page, thus reducing the likelihood of delays.
Finally, it's worth researching grants and funding opportunities that may be available to help you obtain chargers at a lower cost. Many utilities offer rebates or incentives to encourage the installation of EV charging stations. It makes sense to take advantage of these programs if they are available in your area.
2. Communicate with your utility provider
Regular communication with your utility company can help streamline your efforts and stay informed of their requirements, expectations, and your project timeline. This will help to avoid delays caused by misunderstandings or misaligned goals.
It's also important to check the requirements for receiving funding or grants from your utility provider. Many utilities offer incentives for EV charging station installations, but these programs often come with specific requirements that must be met in order to receive funding.
Examples of utilities' requirements may include sharing charging data monthly or using specific types of hardware or software for the charging stations. Understanding these requirements early on helps to align your project with the utility's goals and avoid any nasty surprises further down the road.
Finally, it's important to have a clear understanding of the project timeline for approval and installation. Project timelines can range from several months to over a year depending on the complexity of the project and the utility's review process. By having a clear timeline in place, you can plan accordingly and avoid unnecessary delays.
3. Choose a reputable contractor for your installation
A good EV charging station contractor should be familiar with the local utility requirements and have an existing relationship with the utility company. This should go a long way to avoiding any communication roadblocks that may contribute to delays.
Additionally, a reputable contractor will have the knowledge, expertise, and equipment necessary to ensure that your project meets all of the necessary requirements and is completed on time. Do your research and choose a company that has a proven track record of successful EV charging station installations. Look out for reviews or testimonials from previous clients, as well as any relevant certifications or qualifications.
Make sure that you communicate your project timeline and expectations clearly with your chosen contractor. Working together is essential to ensure that your project is completed on time and meets all of the necessary requirements for approval by your utility provider.
4. Use pre-approved designs
Firstly, contact your utility provider and ask if there are any pre-approved designs for EV charging stations available. If the answer is yes, a decision to use a pre-approved design may lead the utility to have fewer concerns and they may even expedite the approval process.
Pre-approved designs vary depending on your location and the requirements of your utility provider. These types of designs have been reviewed and approved by the utility company, so they are guaranteed to meet all of the necessary requirements.
Researching other pre-approved designs, even if not applicable to your specific location, may serve as a guide for inspiration or provide context for your own project. Using a pre-approved design helps you to avoid any potential roadblocks in the approval process and ensure that your project meets all of the necessary requirements.
However, it's important to note that not all utilities offer pre-approved designs. When this is the case, you need to work even more closely with your contractor and utility provider to ensure that your project won’t get held up waiting for approval.
5. Consider alternative energy sources
Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. Renewables can provide a more cost-effective way to power your charging operations over time. Renewable energy sources can also help you meet your sustainability goals and demonstrate your commitment to reducing your carbon footprint.
Using alternative energy sources, such as solar or wind power, helps to reduce your reliance on the grid. It also has the potential to counteract any problems with the utility's infrastructure. For instance, if the local grid is prone to overloading or power outages, renewables can help to maintain the consistency of your charging operations.
Incorporating renewable energy into your EV charging station project allows you to create a sustainable and self-sufficient source of power. This can help reduce the impact of power outages, grid congestion, and other issues that may cause delays or disruptions in the approval process.
6. Use smart charging technology to increase efficiency and reduce energy bills
Smart charging technology is a transformative technology for EV charging stations. It allows businesses to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, and maximize uptime.
One of the key benefits of smart charging technology is that it can enable the installation of more chargers than would be possible with existing grid connections. This means that businesses can accommodate more EVs without the need for a costly infrastructure upgrade from the utility provider.
In addition, smart charging technology enables businesses to optimize charger uptime and minimize charging costs. Advanced algorithms are used to monitor energy demand and adjust charging rates accordingly. This means that businesses can reduce peak energy usage during times of high demand, and shift power consumption to off-peak hours when electricity prices are lower.
A smart charging platform such as Ampcontrol provides a complete suite of tools to help you optimize the charging process based on factors such as battery capacity, vehicle usage patterns, and energy demand. This reduces the time and energy required for charging while ensuring that vehicles are fully charged when needed. The platform also provides real-time monitoring of charging sessions, allowing fleet managers to track usage and identify opportunities for further optimization.
In addition to its electric fleet charging management capabilities, Ampcontrol offers a range of other features that can help businesses increase their energy efficiency and reduce costs. These include demand response management tools that allow businesses to participate in grid balancing programs and earn revenue for reducing their electricity consumption during peak periods.
7. Be patient
It's important to remember that delays in approval may occur despite the best planning and communication with your utility provider. Unforeseen technical challenges or local regulations can slow things down. Try to stay patient and continue researching the process of creating a charging station to help you stay focused on your goals.
Remember that obstacles are a natural part of any project and being prepared for them is key. By staying patient and continuing to work towards your goal, you can overcome any challenges that may arise during the approval process.
The widespread adoption of electric vehicles requires a reliable and accessible network of charging infrastructure. Delays caused by utility approvals can be a major obstacle to achieving this goal.
The seven steps outlined above offer practical and proven strategies to streamline the approval process with utility providers. However, no matter how much preparation you put in, delays in the utility approval process are always possible.
Fortunately, Ampcontrol’s smart charging technology can help to mitigate the effects of delays. It allows you to maximize the site’s available power, while maximizing uptime, and reducing charging costs.
To discover more about Ampcontrol, book a demo today.