The Real Estate Board of New York to The Committee on Housing and Buildings of the New York City Council Regarding Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment in Parking Garages and Lots

Ryan Monell

Vice President of Government Affairs

January 23, 2023

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REBNY strongly supports data-driven policies that will spur housing construction, create good jobs, and house New Yorkers. REBNY thanks Chair Sanchez and the members of the Committee for this opportunity to submit testimony on the topic of accessory dwelling units and Int 150-2022, which requires garages and open parking lots to install certain electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment.

New York City is plagued by a shortage of rental housing units, particularly rental units for lower income households. With persistently high rates of homelessness and overcrowding,[1] there are simply too few available affordable options for New Yorkers’ housing needs. This crisis is dire, complex and requires a multipronged approach of preservation, new production, and conversion of underutilized existing space to meet our needs.

While we need every tool at the City’s disposal to address this crisis, expanding the safe and legal use of accessory dwelling units in New York City would help address the City’s housing needs. Introduced last session, the state bill A.9802/S.8783 would authorize New York City to pursue a program best suited to local considerations. REBNY supports this measure and as such supports City Council Res 0161-2022.

ADUs are one potential source of additional housing units and REBNY is supportive of efforts to create a pathway to legalize such units. Legalizing apartments that people already live in and providing the funding to owners to make those units safer is a common-sense solution to which all should be able to agree. The tenant protection of right of first refusal is important and the state bill appropriately balances tenant and owner rights in the bill language.

BILL: Intro 150-2022
SUBJECT: This legislation would require that (1) 10% of spaces in existing parking garages and lots install electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) by 2030, rising to 20% of such spaces by 2035 and further require that these structures have the capability of supporting EVSE in 40% of spaces by 2030; (2) that when certain alterations occur that 10% of spaces have EVSE installed and 40% of spaces be capable of supporting EVSE; and (3) that, for new garages and lots, 20% of spaces have EVSE installed and 60% of spaces are capable of supporting EVSE.

SPONSORS: Justin L. Brannan, Tiffany Cabán, Althea V. Stevens, Eric Dinowitz, Lincoln Restler, Sandy Nurse, Erik D. Bottcher, Nantasha M. Williams, Alexa Avilés, Jennifer Gutiérrez, Lynn C. Schulman, Pierina Ana Sanchez, Gale A. Brewer, Kevin C. Riley, Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, James F. Gennaro, Rita C. Joseph, Crystal Hudson, Shaun Abreu, Shahana K. Hanif, Shekar Krishnan, Carmen N. De La Rosa, Diana I. Ayala, Marjorie Velázquez, Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera, Christopher Marte, Sandra Ung, Julie Won, Mercedes Narcisse, Rafael Salamanca, Jr., Amanda Farías, Kamillah Hanks, Robert F. Holden, Linda Lee, Kristin Richardson Jordan, Charles Barron, Chi A. Ossé, Farah N. Louis, Oswald Feliz, (by request of the Queens Borough President)

REBNY supports the goal of this bill to make electric vehicle charging equipment more available. Doing so will further the City and State’s ambitious plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the transportation sector by facilitating the transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles. Scaling up EV infrastructure, along with intensive efforts to green the electric grid, will also help to improve local air quality.

REBNY urges the Council to consider the following practical challenges that must be addressed should this legislation move forward.

The legislation requires that parking structures both install a certain amount of EVSE and be capable of installing additional EVSE in the future. While this standard appropriately recognizes that it is not necessary or appropriate to require parking structures to install EVSE before demand for EV-charging exists, it does create practical challenges. Specifically, to meet this standard, a building or parking structure owner or operator would approach Con Edison to obtain additional electrical capacity for the installed charging stations and any future charging stations. However, a key challenge is that Con Edison does not approve the installation of electrical infrastructure based on what future electrical demand will be. As such, the legislation will result in significant demands on Con Edison to process requests and do the work needed to provide electrical capacity to all covered parking structures in a way that is potentially inconsistent with their existing policies.

Relatedly, it is important that policymakers carefully evaluate the ability of the electric grid and local distribution systems to manage the additional load that will result from the deployment of EV charging infrastructure and building electrification. EV charging, particularly fast charging infrastructure, requires significant additional load and will place burdens on the system. Combined with building electrification, these burdens could be significant and must be managed to ensure electric reliability.

These two issues could be addressed by focusing the legislation on new construction only, rather than existing structures. In existing structures, installing the infrastructure needed to upgrade electricity capacity can take years, can be very disruptive, and carries prohibitive costs. For these reasons, we encourage the Council to focus this bill on new parking facilities while owners, operators, utility companies, and policymakers work to craft an appropriate set of standards for existing parking facilities.

An additional consideration that should be considered is the need to create a coherent policy framework between the City and the State to ensure the efficient and rational deployment of EV charging stations. The State’s EV Make-Ready program, a critical part of which was recently approved by the Public Service Commission, intends to increase EV charging stations by 10-fold, to approximately 50,000 stations, by 2025. The PSC has developed a program to keep the costs of such charges down and to incentivize charging vehicles at times that will put the least strain on the grid. In addition, the State Senate is considering a bill (S1736) that would require EV charging equipment in new parking facilities only at a different standard than Intro 150. REBNY encourages City and State policymakers to work together and align on a single standard for the deployment of EV charging infrastructure.

Finally, New York City’s unique infrastructure needs raise other practical challenges. For example, many garages in the City have parking equipment that parks cars vertically. Installing and powering EVSE in these kinds of vertical arrangements is more complicated and expensive than doing so in lots or single-floor structures. Other parking structures operate under a valet parking structure in which cars are parked very closely together, sometimes not in specific spaces, to ensure they can fit. Findings ways of addressing these kinds of challenge will be important moving forward.

Once again, REBNY appreciates and supports the Council’s desire to increase the capacity to charge EVs in New York City. Such an effort is vital to cutting the use of fossil fuels and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to collaborating with you to help shape the smartest and most effective approach to doing so.

Thank you for this opportunity to submit testimony on this proposed legislation.

Topics Covered

  • Housing
  • Sustainability