Georgia C-Stores Want Level Playing Field With Utilities on EVs

Fuel retailers say Georgia Power would have an unfair pricing advantage if it operates charging stations.

February 23, 2022

EV Charging

ATLANTA—Convenience retailers in Georgia want assurances that they can sell the electricity that motorists will use to power up if they install electric vehicle (EV) chargers at their gas stations, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). There are 4,687 locations in the state ready to install chargers, but owners are hesitant because they worry that the state-run utility company, Georgia Power, will construct its own stations and have an unfair advantage in pricing on the power and equipment.

“Competing with a monopoly is one of our biggest concerns,” Angela Holland, president of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS), told a state House of Representatives committee recently.

Georgia Power operates 57 charging stations in the state, but owning EV charging stations is not its business, Stephanie Gossman, the electric transportation manager at Georgia Power, told a Georgia House committee. But members of the Georgia General Assembly point to the National Electric Highway Coalition, which includes Georgia Power and the Tennessee Valley Authority, which has indicated it will install charging stations and other infrastructure nationwide.

Although Georgia Power says it does not plan to own charging stations, GACS is lobbying the General Assembly to make sure that Georgia Power would pay the same rates c-store owners do for electricity. There are two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, that would level the playing field, and both would require Georgia Power to create a subsidiary to operate charging stations that would buy electricity at the same rates paid by private businesses.

Georgia Power also can decide to charge its businesses, which include convenience stores, if it decides to upgrade its infrastructure, Jay Smith, director of the Charge Ahead Partnership, told the AJC. Georgia Power also provides financial assistance to private companies to add stations, including convenience stores.

Last month, the Biden Administration released its plan to fund electric vehicle charging infrastructure, focusing on interstate highways first, and then rural areas at a later date. The administration said the goal of the plan is to give Americans the ability to access public EV charging as easily as it is to find a gas station.

A recent Convenience Matters podcast episode discusses how EVs are the future, and another episode explains how convenience retailers can attract and retain EV customers.

Visit the NACS Electric Vehicles topics page for more information about EVs. The NACS EV Charging Calculator was created to allow retailers to assess the cost and profitability of offering EV chargers at their sites. The calculator focuses on what retailer utility costs associated with EV recharging are and what the corresponding revenue must be to recover those costs after allowing for potential ancillary in-store visits and purchase profitability.

Read more about electricity demand charges and what they mean for retailers’ ability to turn a profit from EV charging in the September issue of NACS Magazine.