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Webinar: Contracting and Procurement Considerations for EV Station Deployment (Text Version)

This is a text version of Webinar: Contracting and Procurement Considerations for EV Station Deployment, presented on March 28, 2023.

Heather Richardson, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us today for our next webinar for the Joint Office on contracting and procurement considerations for EV station deployment. I'm Heather Richardson. I support technical assistance for the Joint Office and work out of the Volpe Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Just before we get started, just a couple of housekeeping tips. And we're going to be taking questions during the webinar today through the Q&A chat pod. So if you can use that, it's at the bottom of your screen, and submit your questions there. The controls are located at the bottom. And please, submit the questions. We won't be unmuting everybody to take the questions.

Also, just today, the webinar is going to be recorded. And the slides and the recording, we're going to make available on the Drive Electric website, on the Webinars tab. And just as clarity, if you speak during the webinar or use your video, you are presumed to give us consent to the recording of your voice and image.

And today's webinar is going to be 60 minutes. And it's going to feature an overview of contracting and procurement considerations for Title 23 projects from the Federal Highway Administration Office of Infrastructure. We're going to have an opportunity to take a few questions from the FHWA representatives.

And then we're going to have two other subject matter experts working from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Xcel Energy. And they're going to share their general contracting and procurement lessons learned. Their experiences are based on projects that were not subject to Title 23. So their specific approaches might not be applicable to NEVI and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program.

We'll also have another opportunity after our Tennessee and Xcel Energy representatives give their presentations. But now, before we get started, I'd like to turn it over to the Executive Director of the Joint Office, Gabe Klein, to offer an introduction. And Gabe has led the Joint Office since September 2022. And he has a background in leading departments of transportation in Chicago and Washington D.C. And this has included launching two of the first and largest solar powered bikeshare systems.

Gabriel Klein, Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: You can skip over that, Heather. They've heard all that before.

Heather Richardson: Here is Gabe.

Gabriel Klein: Thank you. And thank you so much, Heather, for all of your work on this, and for jumping in last minute to go ahead and run this webinar. We're very excited about this one. This may be one of the most important webinars that we've done to date. No diss to the other great webinars, but this is where things often get stuck, right? Contracting and procurement.

We don't think about it sometimes until the end, when we're getting ready to launch a program. And by then, it's too late. So we were really focused on having this conversation early on, up front. We really appreciate you jumping on today.

As Heather said, there will be a recording. But there are a lot of different considerations here when we think about the continuum of public private partnerships. And we think about the experience that many of you have, whether you're in cities or MPOs or states, or you're in the private sector, right? And you're trying to figure out how you're going to partner. And this is maybe a departure from what you've contracted in the past.

So we're very excited to hear from Federal Highways with their expertise in contracting and contracting regulations, as well as Tennessee, Xcel Energy, who've implemented DC fast charging stations using innovative contracting mechanisms. So we're going to have the chance to learn about their successes as well as challenges. And we encourage those of you that are helping us on this webinar to be honest about the things that didn't work, because we know that those things happen.

As you all know, we're here at the Joint Office to accelerate an electrified transportation system, and to create this national charging network. But it's going to take a lot of regional, local coordination and public-private coordination. And, in many cases, it means really understanding public-private utility to make sure that we can reach the outcomes that we need to for the public.

And we're here to support, provide technical assistance, sync, and synergize as much as possible, to use some late 90s business terms. And we encourage you to keep tabs on what we're doing at, as well as our newsletter which will be putting out regularly, and additional webinars. So thank you so much. And with that, I'm going to turn it back over to Heather and the team.

Heather Richardson: Thanks, Gabe. Before we get started, we have two polling questions for you just to help us understand who is in our audience. So Justin, if you don't mind pulling the panel or the polling questions up?

So the first question is what sector are you from? And hopefully, we have a broad cross-section of results. Justin, are you able to shift to the results coming in?

Justin Rickard, National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Yeah, I'm not sure why they aren't. Let me see here. There we go.

Heather Richardson: There we go. So a lot of state government. Great. Happy to see you guys here. A fair amount also of non-government public sector and local regional government. So we'll go on to the next question which is what region are you from?

And so hopefully, we'll have also a good cross-section of representation from across the country. And Justin, did the results come up now? Perfect. OK. Heavy contingency from the East side, but also some representation Northwest and Southwest, and a couple international. So, great. Thank you all for joining us today.

Our panelists today are Jim DeSanto from the FHWA, Alexa Voytek from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and Craig Miller from Xcel Energy.

And Jim is going to start us off with an overview of contracting and procurement roles for Title 23 projects on Title 23 Funding on Federal Aid Highway Projects. And then following Jim's presentation, we'll hear from Tennessee and Xcel Energy. And so, Jim is currently serving as the Contract Administer Program Manager on the Construction team in the FHWA Office of Infrastructure.

And prior to joining the FHWA in 2013, he served as the local official in Ohio delivering a variety of municipal and federally assisted projects for 16 years. And with that, I'm going to turn it over to Jim. Thanks, Jim.

Jim DeSanto, U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration: Sure. Thank you. I'm also being assisted today with our presentation, the Federal Highway portion, by Suiraya Motsinger. And Suiraya, if you'd be willing to come on here. Suiraya is a program manager in the FHWA headquarters, Office of Environment and Planning. And so she's been very closely involved with and looking over the NEVI program here for the last year and a half. Suiraya, would you like to start off and lead off with the initial part?

Suraiya Motsinger, U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration: Sure, I'll kick us off. I couldn't let Jim have all the fun today. So really, on behalf of FHWA—and you guys can see my slides, yes?

Jim DeSanto: Yes.

Suraiya Motsinger: Our slides. OK. Great. On behalf of FHWA, thank you to the Joint Office for hosting this webinar and for having us as guests on the webinar. We're really pleased to be here. This is an important topic.

And I will mention, as Jim said, our presentation today is a joint effort between Jim's office at U.S. DOT's Federal Highway Administration Office of Infrastructure, and the office that I'm a part of, at U.S. DOT's Federal Highway Administration, the Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty. And again, my name is Suraiya Motsinger and our team is the program lead for the NEVI Formula Program which is part of the reason I'm inserting myself today. And I'll start us off and then I'll kick it over to Jim to take us through the specifics of the contract admin portion of the webinar.

So just our disclaimer from FHWA on our slides. This presentation is intended only to provide information and does not have the force and effect of law. So if we ever tripped up on our words say something that doesn't sound right, please go directly to the red text or to law. That definitely trumps anything that myself or Jim say. But we are here to assist.

And before we really get to the contracting on the webinar, we wanted to take a moment to talk about FHWA's role in technical assistance for the NEVI Formula Program. If you've been involved with the NEVI Formula Program over the past year, you know what an absolutely amazing role the Joint Office has played in providing technical assistance to all the states, and honestly, to us at FHWA as well.

And we're really, really happy that we have this partnership here. But we also know that it can—there is a little bit of confusion on, well, where should my questions be directed? Should they be directed to FHWA or should they be directed to the Joint Office? So I just wanted to take a second to show a little Venn diagram that shows where certain questions should go.

And in particular, typical federal aid or Title 23 related questions, any questions you have on program guidance, questions on the newly released minimum standards and requirements under 23 CFR 680, all of those types of questions should come to your FHWA division office in your state. And they will be the ones that are able to provide you with answers.

So for example, if you have a question on the eligibility of a particular cost, something that you want to use NEVI Formula Program funds to purchase, these questions should go to your FHWA division office for those answers.

And also want to just caveat that this slide is not comprehensive, but it encapsulates the major areas that we should be providing assistance on behalf of FHWA, and the Joint Office can provide assistance as well. So today, of course, we're getting a little bit more detailed on contracting issues, which you can see are in the FHWA sphere.

And another little disclaimer the focus of this webinar is contracting. There is a lot floating out in the ether, the NEVI electric vehicle ether, about different topics. And we're not talking today about the new final rule under 23 CFR 680. We're not talking about NEPA. We're not talking about Buy America. We're really focusing on contract administration. So that's what our presentation speaks to today.

And we are covering quite a bit today, just in my and Jim's presentation. First, I'll start with a really brief overview of NEVI. Then we'll discuss different deployment approach options we've heard are under consideration in different states. And then we'll outline some potential construction contracting methods we're expecting to see employed by states. Jim will cover that. And then we'll discuss some contract administration notes we want you to be aware of. And we'll conclude with section on questions and support.

So to kick us off, NEVI—as we probably all know on this call—it provides funding to the states in order to deploy EV charging infrastructure. And it provides funding to the states through a formula allocation. And there are a number of guidance and supporting documents that FHWA released in coordination with the Joint Office that are available regarding the NEVI Formula Program, to include a quick fact sheet on the bill website, program guidance, a set of frequently asked questions, and we also have links to all of the plans published by state DOTs that outline their approach to EV infrastructure deployment. And I think we can probably get links out to everyone on this webinar as well. And if not, then let us know and we can get you links to any of these documents.

So where are we now in terms of the implementation of the NEVI Formula Program? Well, really, we've achieved three key milestones towards states really truly being able to implement the NEVI Formula Program. First of all, all the states, D.C., and Puerto Rico have successfully submitted and have actually successfully had FHWA approve their plans for EV infrastructure deployment. So that was one huge hurdle.

And the next really big key milestone is that, because all those plans were approved, NEVI funding is available for states to actually implement their plans. And finally, just this past month in February, we released a final rule, setting out minimum standards and requirements for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. And what those three pieces states really have all the pieces they were waiting for and are ready to hit the next step, which is contracting.

So before we get to contracting, still, I wanted to take a second to talk about some of the common themes that we heard in the state plans, especially with regards to major contract-related issues that states have been contemplating. First, we really heard that states have been identifying the general locations for where they want to install EV chargers. They've been retaining flexibility on the specifics. So they haven't identified particular parcels where these stations will be located generally.

And second, most states are trying to figure out how they can avoid directly owning or operating the charging stations and, kind of unique for a federal program, for transportation infrastructure. This is actually allowable under the NEVI Formula Program.

Finally, states are considering a large number of contracting mechanisms. But most states haven't yet settled on the contracting mechanisms that they want to use for the NEVI Formula Program. So overall, for the most part, we've seen a lot of general themes that states are wanting to do a lot of the same things, but they're exploring different contracting mechanisms to actually implement the goal. So with that, I'll turn it over to Jim for us to start identifying some NEVI-specific contract admin considerations.

Jim DeSanto: Great. Thanks. Thank you, Suiraya. As was pointed out earlier, we've been receiving some questions from the field about contracting requirements for the NEVI Formula funded projects. There are some contracting requirements that are the same as what one would typically encounter in any other federal aid project. However, there are some differences. And so first, let's talk about and focus on the things that are in common with this slide.

So first, the government-wide prohibition on procuring restricted telecom and video surveillance equipment applies. This is important to keep in mind as EV charging infrastructure is tech heavy. And we think about card readers, network communication, site monitoring, surveillance, and so on. And second—and if there's nothing else that you take away from this presentation, which you probably already know this, but in case you weren't aware, if you take nothing else away, please make note of this point—the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law specifically requires that the NEVI Formula-funded projects are to be administered as if apportioned under Chapter 1, Title 23 of the U.S. code. And in short, Title 23 applies to the NEVI Formula projects. This means our typical federal aid construction contract and requirements are going to apply to recipients and subrecipients.

Now, we've listed just a few here on this slide. It also means that the state DOTs as well as the direct recipient of these formula funds are responsible for ensuring that their subrecipients are in compliance with all federal requirements. Next slide, please.

So now, let's cover a few things that differ from typical federal aid construction projects. First, due to how the program is funded and built, the DBE program requirements do not apply to NEVI Formula-funded projects. Now, the NEVI Formula or, excuse me, the NEVI program office includes several frequently asked questions, FAQs, on this point. And if you have additional questions about this, we ask that you please look first to the guidance in the NEVI program FAQs.

So next, we anticipate that EV charging infrastructure will not typically be installed by or owned or operated by entities who are as familiar with the federal aid construction and procurement requirements as are the state DOTs. And so we ask that vigilance as well—we say that vigilance is going to be necessary to ensure compliance with federal requirements. Compliance, as you know, is a foundation of eligibility.

So also we anticipate that much of this infrastructure will be installed on private property off the highway right of way, as Suiraya pointed out earlier. Please note that the BIL, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, included a revision to 23 U.S. Code 109(s), which, among other things, requires EV charging infrastructure projects to be treated as if located on a Federal-aid highway. So this is a hook that brings in highway construction contracting requirements such as procurement, Davis-Bacon prevailing wages, certified payrolls, and so on. Next slide, please.

In the EV infrastructure deployment plans developed by each state last year states laid out an outline of how they intended to procure EV charging infrastructure using NEVI Formula funds. As Suiraya pointed out, most of those plans were not completely detailed, which is understandable, considering the newness of the program.

Generally, the basic approaches can be broken out into three scenarios—in our first scenario, the state DOT identifies the project locations and lets a set of projects. In the second scenario, the state DOT issues a solicitation, such as a request for proposals or RFP, or issues a notice of Funding Opportunity or some other solicitation in order to identify and select subrecipients or awardees who will then identify the specific sites and deliver the proposed projects.

The third scenario is simply a combination of the two where some sites are known by the state such as locations on state owned property. And the other locations are to be identified and proposed by others. Next slide.

So now, let's talk about some construction contracting methods that are available under Title 23. We anticipate that the contracting agencies may wish to use one or more of these methods in combination to deliver the construction portion, and perhaps the operate and maintain portion, of their EV charging infrastructure projects.

The methods include Design-Build, with regulations outlined in 23 CFR 636. Next is P3 Design-Build. And we will discuss the relevant regulation at 23 CFR 636.119. We will also touch on the indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contracting method known as ID/IQ. The final rule for the ID/IQ regulation 23 CFR 635 Subpart F was published in November of last year. Next slide, please.

So first, let's talk about design-build. The design-build method has been available on vetted construction projects for a little over 20 years. This procurement method is used when the state DOT or a subrecipient is not designing the project either by themselves or with the assistance of a design consultant, but rather as combining the responsibilities of both the design and the construction into a single contract with a design-build team or a developer.

In design-build, the state DOT defines its overall project goals and requirements, and then selects the design builder based on the ability to meet the established goals. In design-build, the requirement to procure competitively is met using either a single or a two-phase approach with a request for qualifications followed by a request for proposals.

Also—and this is important in this, especially for NEVI—best value selection is permitted in design-build. Best value means any selection process in which proposals contain both price and qualitative components. And that the award is based on a combination of price and qualitative considerations. Next slide, please.

So next, we have design build with a public-private partnership, or P3. In a P3, the private entity is typically, but not always, contributing financially to the completion or other aspects of the project, and then recovers their investment through some combination of fees, user charges, and/or availability payments from the contracting agency. The regulation addresses design-build with a public private entity in 23 CFR 636.119. Please note that the award must be based on a competitive process that complies with state and local laws. And this is covered in 119a.

Next in 119b of the regulation, there's an important distinction. If the public-private agreement establishes price, then the developer is simply considered the prime contractor and lower tier contracts are considered subcontracts. However, if the public-private agreement does not establish price, then the developer is considered an agent of the owner for the regulation. In this situation, the developer is then required, under regulation, to follow the appropriate federal aid procurement requirements. Next slide, please.

So now, next let's touch on the ID/IQ method. ID IQ allows for an indefinite quantity of services for a fixed period of time. In ID/IQ, the services being procured are typically repeatable standardized items. Contractors bid unit prices for estimated quantities of standard work items. Then the owner identifies where and how much of the quantities are needed at a specific location and then issues a work order. Some states are currently using ID/IQ on federal aid construction projects for things like guardrail or pavement preservation, bridge preservation, tree clearing signal, traffic signal installations, and so on.

We anticipate there may be some states that are interested in utilizing ID/IQ in their EV charging infrastructure projects, particularly if they have sites where a standardized installation makes sense such as on this graphic. Also, as we discussed in the previous slide, if the private entity is selected without a price and is acting as agent of the owner, then the ID/IQ contracting method could be an option, under Title 23, for that new entity to then develop their EV charging sites. Next slide.

So we believe that there are some elementary considerations and key decisions the contracting agencies are already considering, or are in the process of considering right now, when determining how they will go forward with delivering NEVI Formula funded projects. So the first consideration is what contracting methods are available to the state? What is the state authorized to do? For example, can they do design-build? Can local public agencies do design-build? Will the state need to retain the design services as a separate contract from the construction?

Another question, what entity will be conducting the competitive procurement? Will it be the state DOT or an LPA, or a State Energy Office that's going to be doing this? Or will the private entity or group of entities be selected only on qualifications? Who will then be acting as agent of the owner and then conducting the procurement per the federal requirements?

Also, another consideration would be what are the responsibilities of the private entity or entities that are selected? Will those entities be responsible for all phases of the delivery—meaning the design, the construction the operation, the maintenance, or just portions of the overall site delivery? We heard earlier that most state DOTs do not want to own these facilities. And so it is important to understand the roles and responsibilities of the private entities and what those will be.

So on this next slide, we'll look at a diagram of how these relationships fit together. On this chart, we just have a schematic showing some basic relationships and simplified construct contracting models that were discussed earlier. So at the top left is the contracting agency, such as either the state DOT or local public agency.

There are two arrows leading away from the contracting agency circle. The box on the right side of the slide shows the examples of some contracting models. We have—showing design-build operate, maintain at the top. Design-build plus operation and maintain as separate actions or separate vendors. Of course, we have the option of traditional design-build and ID/IQ at the bottom. Over on the bottom left is a box for the private developer.

The idea here really is just to show how either the contracting agency or a private developer who is selected purely by qualifications and not price, those entities have the similar options and responsibilities for following the federal requirements to procure design for 23 CFR 172 as well as the construction 23 CFR part 635 and 636.

So in each of these models, a state DOT may elect to have one or multiple vendors performing the listed functions. For example, a state may award one overall design-build operate, maintain contract. We know there are some that are looking at that.

We also understand that there are states that are considering awarding multiple design-build/operate-maintain contracts. Maybe dozens. Both approaches would be acceptable. Of course, these, I'm just showing four tracks and a ridiculously simplified model. And there may be other options. But we're not trying to represent every model here. It's just to show what those potential contracting mechanisms would look like and what options would be available to some recipients, in effect, or to the state budget themselves under Title 23. Next slide, please.

So there are some additional notes to cover regarding the NEVI Formula-funded projects and EV charging infrastructure. So first, EV charging infrastructure projects are typically considered construction under the Title 23 definition and not as an operational improvement. So site development, foundations, EV equipment installation, structures, and so on fall under the definition of construction.

In a rare instance, where no ground is being disturbed, a case—if there's no ground being disturbed—then a case could be made for the work to be considered an operational improvement. And if that's the case, then please reach out to the FHWA division office who, in turn, should be consulting with the headquarters program office. This coordination is to ensure the consistent application of program requirements.

So throughout the presentation we have been talking about the applicability of federal construction requirements. As was pointed out earlier, this includes Buy America. And we just had a waiver for EV Chargers published recently, as well as our other contracting requirements such as FHWA-1273 and so on.

We also mentioned earlier that the EV charging infrastructure projects are to be treated as if located on a Federal-aid highway. So our Davis-Bacon related act, which is 23 U.S. Code 113, that applies to these projects. And finally, if your agency is proposing a unique contracting approach, something that's unusual or different than the types of things we've been talking about here, we certainly request that you would please coordinate this approach with the appropriate contacts within your FHWA division office.

Our FHWA division offices have been asked to coordinate any of those unique approaches with the FHWA headquarters program office. And with that, I'll turn the balance of the presentation back over to Suiraya for some additional comments.

Suraiya Motsinger: Thanks, Jim. So because, as Jim mentioned, we're anticipating that, oftentimes, NEVI Formula Program contracts will actually include a separate contract for just O&M, we wanted to also take a minute to give you a few notes on the nuances that are involved with O&M contracts under NEVI.

First of all, it's very unusual that O&M is an eligible expense under NEVI. It's very unusual for federal funding to have operations and maintenance be an eligible expense. So with that, there are some strings attached for the use of NEVI Formula Program funds for operations and maintenance. NEVI is only eligible for operations and maintenance where NEVI has also been used for acquisition or installation of EV charging infrastructure.

So what that means is if there's a location in your state where an EV charger has already been constructed using state dollars only and no NEVI dollars at all, then you can't say that charger had been either acquired or installed with NEVI Formula Program funds. And in that instance, you can't use NEVI for operations and maintenance at that site. So there's some very specific requirements there.

And then, also, O&M is only available for five years or less. So it's not an indefinite ability to use NEVI Formula funds for operations and maintenance. It's really to be used in key locations. Beyond O&M, that requirement, there are also other requirements that stations be reliable with a 97% uptime. And there are other data metrics and monitoring requirements that apply for EV charging. So just want to make it clear that it's not a possibility to just clear and free, give away, operations and maintenance funds without requirements. There are requirements that still apply to using NEVI Formula funds for operations and maintenance.

And also, wanted to point out that compliance with all the requirements is required per 23 CFR 680 106i for a minimum of five years from the initial date of operation. So you can't just use NEVI Formula Program funds one year, and then stop applying regulations, the federal regulations, in future years. It has to be, for five years from the initial date of operation.

So again, from a process standpoint, this program, the NEVI Formula Program, really functions like all other federal aid programs. Any program related questions that are developed locally should go to state DOTs to answer. And if state DOTs need assistance, of course, the FHWA division offices in each state are there to provide guidance on the formula program and all federal requirements.

And the FHWA division offices in each state know that they can reach out to us in headquarters if there are any specific questions that we can assist with as well. And I'd like to conclude with our contact information. So if we don't get to any questions today, please feel free to reach out to us directly, thanks.

Heather Richardson: Thanks, Jim and Suiraya. Right now, we're going to shift into just a couple of questions for the two of you. Before we go into the presentation by Alexa—So the first question is, can a state use a grant program to distribute NEVI Formula funds and implement their NEVI program.

Jim DeSanto: I can answer that. And so the answer is, in general, yes. A state may choose to distribute their NEVI Formula funds via grant program. However, as we've pointed out earlier, Title 23 requirements apply to the NEVI Formula Program. And any non-federal entities that receive grant awards as subrecipients must, as we said, must also be following Title 23 procurement and contracting requirements. That hasn't changed.

So for NEVI-funded construction projects, this would involve, as I mentioned earlier, the subrecipient complying with 23 USC 112, 20 CFR Part 635, 636 and so on as the contracting agency. And then the states would be responsible for their oversight and overseeing the sub rewards and ensuring compliance with all the federal requirements.

Recipients would also consider whether the non-federal entity performing the function of the subrecipient is performing—excuse me—is performing the function of a subrecipient or are they truly actually a contractor. And there's requirements in 2 CFR 200 that would address this. And if it's procurement, then we're back to following the 2023 procurement requirements.

So again, conclusion, I'd say for award, subawards, to local public agencies, states should follow their normal Title 23 procedures for LPAs. And additional guidance, we do anticipate that there may be some additional guidance coming forward if there's a subaward to private entities. That's what I have for that.

Heather Richardson: OK. The next question. As it pertains to approved uses of program income, our reading of the NEVI rule is that 2 CFR Part 200.307. does not apply. And any revenue or income does not have to be deducted from any grant funds that the state may distribute. Please confirm whether this interpretation is correct.

Suraiya Motsinger: Yeah, I could take a crack at that one. Generally, both 2 CFR 223 CFR 680 will apply. So I think people get a little confused because we just published new regulations establishing minimum standards and requirements under 23 CFR 680 and they just got released in February. Well, those regulations apply, but you still have to follow 2 CFR 200 as well.

And just generally, 2 CFR Part 200 applies to all grants and awards of any kind of federal financial assistance administered by the U.S. DOT. And that includes the grants that the previous question asked about, and federal grants and any kind of financial assistance subject to Title 23. And where a grant is subject to Title 23, more specific provisions might apply that are specific to Title 23 in certain instances where 2 CFR 200 is either silent or conflicting.

Jim brought up the procurement regs that Title 23 applies. So you'd look to Title 23 for procurement instead of 2 CFR 200 or you'd look there to fill in the gap beyond 2 CFR 200, and the question was on 2 CFR 200.307. And that doesn't really conflict with 23 CFR 680. I think 307, it addresses different specific scenarios. So we really have to look at the specific question that someone asked to see which portion of 307 would apply depending on the specific scenario.

Heather Richardson: Thanks, Suiraya. And then the last question before we go to the other presenters is, can you clarify, for 680.106a, as to the applicability to the procurement of the charging station versus how pricing is set by the station operator.

Suraiya Motsinger: Yes. That's a good question. And I would point directly back to the language in 23 CFR 680.106a, what that question referenced. And it speaks to public transparency for how price will be determined. But requires that we make available for public review several pieces of information.

And some of those pieces of information include summary information on the procurement process that was used. So the actual procurement process. And then it also asks about price and cost data and making sure that is disclosed to the public. So in looking at the language in 23 CFR 680, I'd say that both apply. And I would definitely look at 23 CFR 680 106a through 6 under there, to see that.

Heather Richardson: OK. Thank you. We're going to shift now to having Alexa Voytek from Tennessee to speak with us. Sorry, I'm going to take a second to share my screen. Thanks. And Alexa, gonna give a little bit of your background?

So Alexa is the Deputy Director, Program for Innovation and transportation at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Office of Energy Programs. She serves as the principal investigator of the VW settlement, EMT. And she also serves as the coordinator for the U.S. DOE'S Clean Cities Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition. That's a mouthful.

And then through that, she's also a technical resource for fleets and individuals that are evaluating alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. And she's the co-chair for the NASEO Transportation Committee. I'm also just going to briefly introduce Craig Miller with his bio, and then we'll turn it over to Alexa.

Craig is the Senior Director of EV infrastructure at Xcel Energy. It's a utility serving over 3.7 million consumers across eight states. Craig's responsibilities include installation and maintenance of Excel Energy's EV infrastructure, for all portfolios, including residential, commercial, and public charging. Craig has been with Xcel Energy for seven years.

Previously, he served in various other leadership roles within the electric distribution and gas business area. And prior to the utility sector, Craig served as an officer in the Navy's Nuclear Propulsion Program. So, thank you. And Alexa, I'm going to turn it over to you.

Alexa Voytek, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation: Awesome. Thank you. Can you see my screen?

Heather Richardson: I can, thanks.

Alexa Voytek: Great. So, yeah. Thank you to the Joint Office for the opportunity to share some lessons learned and experiences from the state of Tennessee. As Heather mentioned, my name is Alexa Voytek. And I'm with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

And as was mentioned, the programs that I'll be highlighting and the efforts that I'll be highlighting were not federally funded. Most of what I'll be touching on is a fast charge network that we've partnered with the Tennessee Valley Authority on, now called Fast Charge TN. And on our side, we leveraged Volkswagen settlement funds to help build out that network.

So as was noted, some of my takeaways may or may not be relevant to NEVI. Obviously, NEVI has to comply with NEVI rules and requirements. But hopefully, there will be some useful nuggets for you all as you're kind of stepping through some of your planning processes. So just to give you a quick background on the existing landscape that we were working with in Tennessee, you can kind of see some charger maps here on the screen.

In Tennessee, we had engaged in a multi-stakeholder effort called Drive Electric Tennessee, where we established a goal of driving the EV adoption in the state to 200,000 electric vehicles by 2028. And after we established that goal, we then did somewhat of a robust, statewide electric vehicle infrastructure needs assessment to better understand what the demand need would be on the infrastructure side to meet that 200,000 vehicle population and what those charging needs would be.

And so, the map here on the screen, I also want to just state that one of the key takeaways here is that the existing landscape and the existing charging infrastructure within a jurisdiction is just always going to be a moving target. And so that's something that we've, on our team, we've developed a variety of tools in order to be able to try and track that in real time.

Because we know that not only are there existing chargers that have different power capabilities, different charger types, different numbers of chargers and so forth. But then we also know that there are chargers in development at all times. And so trying to keep a tab on that so that the chargers that we end up developing are not duplicating but rather complementing, in parallel, those other chargers that are being developed.

So in 2021, following the Drive Electric Tennessee's statewide infrastructure needs assessment, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and TVA, which is our primary generation and transmission utility within the state, we signed an agreement to essentially partner and co-fund what we now call the Fast Charge TN Network. And so interestingly, this was kind of developed before NEVI was really a twinkle in anyone's eye.

But it has a lot of similar core fundamentals in the sense that we were trying to place chargers, fast chargers, every 50 miles on a corridor network. For Fast Charge TN though, we are looking at both primary and secondary highways. So really, kind of getting into some of our super, super rural areas, really trying to get that comprehensive coverage across the entire state.

The Fast Charge TN Network was also designed such that local power companies, those distribution utilities, they were the only eligible grantees or applicants. And so they were the ones that would be owning and operating these charging stations within their jurisdictions. And to the extent they didn't own the property where the charging station would go, they would have to negotiate that site host agreement with the property owners, if applicable.

Because this was pre-NEVI, our power requirements were a little bit shy of what we now see as the NEVI rules and requirements. So interestingly, once the NEVI program was announced and kind of really hit the streets, we actually hit pause on Fast Charge TN and built in a second funding tier for Fast Charge TN that gave a little bit more money for folks who wanted to try and get to be NEVI-compliant.

And this was even pre use of net funding. So we were still using VW funds to see if we could even possibly get some folks to be NEVI compliant, help fill in some of those gaps before we even have the NEVI funds to work with, thus being good stewards of those funds.

So through the Fast Charge TN Network, you can see the stats on the screen here that we're funding 32 chargers at 13 locations with Volkswagen funds. And then the TVA, they brought additional funding to fund 58 chargers at 28 locations. They are also funding additional chargers in the six other states that they serve.

So this slide, I just want to highlight that, as we're considering the development of these charging stations, we're looking at a variety of things. Obviously, we want sites to be good locations from an amenity standpoint. But from the state of Tennessee's perspective, one of the first executive orders that our governor made when he first came into office was focused on supporting our rural, distressed communities.

And so here, we've highlighted the distressed and at-risk counties as determined by the Appalachian Regional Commission. We wanted to see this as a way where we could bring economic development opportunities to those regions. And then also, we highlight our location of our state parks, knowing that we could use this as an opportunity for sustainable tourism to those parks and natural areas.

And as I mentioned, the Fast Charge TN network, it included both primary and secondary corridors. So you can see primary in green and secondary in blue here. And so, that just shows how we're really trying to get an entire comprehensive a layout here, way beyond what we'll be covering in that base. So in that sense, this will be a complement to what we then come in and do on the side of the house.

So I want to—obviously, this webinar is focused on contracting and procurement. So this slide is kind of my main takeaways, and thus far, with the Fast Charge TN Network. One of the phrases that I like to say is that every site is a snowflake. And this is something that I've very much learned in the sense that none of these can really be copy/paste models.

And so for better or for worse, every site will present its own set of challenges, its own set of considerations. And with each site that we've been working on, we've obviously then been able to kind of learn certain lessons and takeaways that have allowed us to hopefully improve the process overall. But knowing that, like I said, nothing is a copy/paste type situation here.

Because the Fast Charge TN Network was focused on local power companies as the grantees and the owners and operators of these charging stations, by nature of that, they were baked into the program early and often because they were the ones that we were going to be contracting with. But that, we learned, was really beneficial.

And now that we're stepping through NEVI, we've had a ton of utility engagement on the front end in our interview process and we've learned that that's been really helpful to coordinate with them early and often because they will be integral partners in these projects whether or not they're going to be owning and operating the infrastructure, they're going to have to be involved from that utility upgrade perspective. And so that's been a huge takeaway on our side.

Another piece of this was that when leveraging multiple funding sources, here we were blending VW with TVA funds, collaborating with that additional partner. There was a lot of time spent establishing what were the program offerings from kind of a collateral standpoint, making sure that all of our documents mirrored one another from vocabulary, rules and requirements, terms and conditions, those sorts of things.

So I think that has come up already with NEVI as we, at the State Energy Office, are supporting PT in their implementation of NEVI and kind of thinking through what has been discussed today, which contracting mechanisms are we going to be using, which templates for those documents, ensuring that, obviously, we're complying with the rules and requirements. But to the extent that we're partnering with multiple entities here, are we using the same vocabulary and are we sure that we know what those terms mean and how they're defined?

I was asked to touch a little bit on monitoring. So with the Fast Charge TN Network, and I would say with any grant program that the State Energy Office is involved in, we have developed a fairly comprehensive on site—both desktop and on site monitoring protocol. And this is, in many ways, just to ensure compliance throughout the program. Obviously, these projects have multiple check points that they're going to have to be engaging in. And so if we have both desktop monitoring throughout that.

But then also conducting an on site monitoring visit, following the construction to ensure that everything was done in accordance with what was said would be done prior to reimbursement, that can help us avoid waste, fraud, and abuse, and just ensure that everything is being done in accordance with the program itself. And so that's something we do monitor every single project that we find prior to reimbursement. And that's something that I think we'll plan to do with NEVI as well.

Operations and maintenance. This is obviously a major concern for EV charging infrastructure. And I know uptime requirements seems to be the theme of the day. So I think we're thinking through how best to be able to compel the ultimate owners and operators of these stations to meet those uptime requirements throughout the five years of the program, whether or not that means we withhold a certain amount of funds and kind of dole it out over the course of the five years. That's one of the ways that we're considering it.

I will say with Fast Charge TN, another thing that came up for us—actually, this wasn't a Fast Charge TN project. This was a project that was funded by a separate Department of Energy grant. The Tennessee Tech University received funding from Department of Energy to install a fast charging station as part of a rural EV demonstration testbed. And unfortunately, a few days after that charging station was installed, it was vandalized and just kind of destroyed beyond operation at that time and it needed to be repaired.

That was something that we didn't really anticipate. And so there wasn't really funding kind of built in to accommodate that. And so we kind of had to scramble to figure out how to fix that situation. So that scenario then inspired us to actually change some of the language in our contracts for Fast Charge TN to essentially encourage folks—not necessarily require, but encourage folks—to have some type of insurance policy that could potentially account for situations like that.

And then I wanted to also touch on just timeline and how that might be built into your contracting as well in terms of the term and how certain milestones will be met. Obviously, we're aware that in many cases, the site host negotiations could take a while in terms of the contracting for that.

And we also know that procurement, just getting the hardware itself, and then the supply chain delays that we're seeing with some of the equipment, including the switch gears, the transformers, and so forth— So this is a slide that I stole from one of my TVA colleagues that I just think does a good job of showing what we're seeing currently with some of those supply chain delays and how to bake that into, perhaps, your expectations from a contracting perspective.

Another thing that I wanted to touch on with Fast Charge TN—this was before we had some federal guidelines on accessibility and ADA considerations with regard to EV charging stations. So in Tennessee, what we did was we leaned heavily on some of the other states that we knew that had created their own Accessibility Guidelines, which included California and Minnesota.

And so we worked in collaboration with TDOT and TVA to kind of come up with what we were calling of an accessible EV charging space. And so for Fast Charge TN, we required that all of our sites have at least one van-accessible EV charging space. But I highlight this also just to say that I think we, as state government officials, didn't necessarily think that we would be in the business of designing the gas stations of the future. And so, so much of this is really kind of forward anticipating things that we may not even know to anticipate and kind of how do we future-proof to account for things that are coming.

And so for NEVI, obviously, I've heard a lot of conversation about pull-through stations and designing for bigger vehicles like the Ford Lightning pickup trucks that might be towing a boat behind them or a trailer. How can we ensure that these charging stations will be able to be used by as many people as possible?

And then lastly, I'll touch on just quickly, we have an initiative in the Southeast: the Southeast Regional Electric Vehicle Information Exchange, or Southeast REVIE. And so we, the states and the Southeast, this is both the State Energy Offices and the State DOTs, we convene on a regular basis now very much in the context of NEVI. But we've been meeting for a few years now to just make sure that we're touching base with one another.

Obviously, our corridors don't stop at our state boundaries. And I think Tennessee actually—Tennessee and one other state—we touch the most number of states of anyone in the country. And so we're very aware of this as a topic. But we want to make sure that the stations that we're developing, that we're doing it in conjunction with our neighbors.

So like I said, we're not duplicating but complementing efforts right on the other side of that border. And so we've got a number of tools that we've developed so that we can be looking at different layers including planned stations that we can kind of keep each other apprised of. And that's my slide deck.

Happy to answer questions later, if there's time. Thank you.

Heather Richardson: Thanks, Alexa. And now, we're going to have Craig Miller from Xcel Energy. Craig, do you want to share your slides?

Craig Miller, Xcel Energy: Yep, pulling it up right now. And a quick mic check. Can you hear me all right?

Heather Richardson: Perfect. Thank you.

CRAIG MILLER:  Let's see here. All right. Can you give me a thumbs up when this is coming through?

Heather Richardson: Not yet.

CRAIG MILLER:  How about now?

Heather Richardson: Almost. There we go.

CRAIG MILLER:  Good deal. Yeah, and likewise, thank you to the group here for facilitating this and to all the attendees out there. I think I saw a couple hundred in the chat there. My name is Craig Miller. I'm with Xcel Energy based out of Denver, Colorado.

Xcel's in kind of a unique position here when it comes to public charging. We're a major utility across the Midwest and the Rocky Mountain region here. But then, we also have a lot of our own EV infrastructure programs that we're in the process of deploying and building out, just in the name of the overall transition here. So we're kind of straddling both sides of the equation.

I'm actually going to spend a little bit more time today talking about the first part of that, being the interaction with utilities, recommendations for how to interact with utilities for anybody who's going out to build out these sites. I will round out a little bit talking about our own experience at Xcel on building a public charging network. But actually, I thought it might be a little more interesting to spend more time talking about how to interact with your utility of choice.

Quickly though, a couple of slides here on who Xcel Energy is. It was mentioned earlier, we're serving approximately 3.7 million electric customers across eight states. Here, you can see the map here of where we are located for an electric distribution company. And so in addition to doing that, we've really taken a nationwide leadership role amongst the utilities here of trying to also spur EV adoption.

And so we've got a number of EV programs. And these are areas where we're, instead of traditionally, we'd stop at the point of service at the meter. We're owning and selling and owning infrastructure beyond that, trying to reduce upfront costs for our customers, make it easier for them to charge on good, clean energy. So, again, kind of straddling both sides of it, and we'll touch on the two elements here today.

A bit of a, I suppose, a marketing blurb here on who Xcel Energy is as a company. We, back in 2018, had made an announcement around some targets to deliver 100% carbon free energy. By 2050, an interim target of 80% in the mid 2030s. So kind of taking that effort to lead the industry amongst utilities towards a clean energy transition.

And then here in 2022, just last summer, we made a public announcement around our EV-specific or clean transportation-specific vision. And this is, again, targeting a 2030 milestone of enabling one out of five vehicles in our service territories to be electric. And then by 2050, enabling 100% of the vehicles in our service territory to run on carbon free electricity.

So I won't talk through all the subparts there. But really, we're seeing ourselves as a leader here. And part of this then becomes the public charging realm that we have some efforts to build that out.

So I promise I didn't coordinate with Alexa on the verbiage here. But she used the exact same words. Early and often was her experience, her team's experience on how to coordinate with the utility. And I have that up here twice. So if there's one thing to take away from just this interaction with the utility, that's it. Early and often.

And the title of the slide here, I have a two-way arrow. That's not by accident. We, as a utility, are trying to encourage a collaborative discussion early and often. We can help provide guidance early on that will result in better site selection and better site layout. And really reduce project costs and timelines overall just due to how they fit into the grid side of things.

I thought this would be interesting to lay out. A typical process for how to interconnect and get service from Xcel, at least as an example. So if you go on our website, on the left side here, you see our typical process—what you need to apply. And this is what you need to apply for electric service from us.

So any public charging site is going to need to go through this application process with us. You kind of look down the list there. And you see a number of things. And I'm going to speak specifically to item one and item five here—service address and site plan. But this is what we typically expect for an application for service.

And if this is typically the first time that we will hear about a project. And if it's a single family house, goes to the same application as a large public charging site, this is the minimum information that we need to collect. What we're quickly finding here with the public charging realm is these are large new loads on our system at a very specific location. And so the siting of it becomes very, very important.

So talking about service address, where is the charging station going to be located? We expect, at the application stage, to have that identified with an address. Thinking about it from a utility grid, it could be a difference of a block away, kind of targeting within a mile of the AFC.

A block difference to the customer to, say, host developer may not be that different. For us, as a utility, it could mean a completely different feeder coming from a different substation that may or may not have capacity. And if you only go a block away, you could have saved a year's worth of utility upgrades and hundreds of thousands, if not more, of cost by only going a block over. That's the kind of information we can bring forward into the planning process early and often.

The other item I'm going to talk about is a site plan. So in order for us, as a utility, to provide service, we need to set a transformer somewhere on the site and run power to it. It's something that, conceptually, when a public charging site is getting laid out, there will need to be accommodations made for the location of the transformer. But even placement within that site can become very important when it comes to what costs are the site host going to incur based on the complexity of our upgrades.

It could be the difference between the northeast corner and the northwest corner. And all of a sudden, we're having to cross a creek, a ditch, a drainage, other utilities, and that could add additional cost and time onto the project. And so those two really jump out at me as two key variables that we, as a utility, would love to provide early input on, because it helps us balance our system better and it helps, ultimately, the development of these sites go smoother and faster.

So how can we engage with you and vice versa, early and often? We have a variety of avenues and groups dedicated to EV planning and design. And so it's a matter of getting in with us early before this application stage and having those preliminary planning discussions. That will involve things like capacity checks.

Tell us the location. We can look at our system and say, do we have available capacity or not? If not, what setup are we going to look like? And this can really help steer towards a better choice on the, ultimately, the service address and the layout of the site. Also, getting into some just overall site feasibility types of considerations.

And so this is something—I can't speak on behalf of, obviously, every other utility. But this is something we are really actively encouraging and soliciting folks to reach out to us. If they're in our service territory, we want to hear from you early and often and have those have those discussions it'll be easier for all of us in the end.

So that kind of wraps up the spiel here on guidance on interacting with the utility. My last slide here is a little bit of experience with Xcel's own public charging network. And I'll caveat this by saying we still don't have a ton of runtime with this. The first bullet here, it talks about approximately 30 different stations that are in various stages of design and construction. Currently, we have plans to build those out over the course of this year.

We do have some pretty ambitious goals that are in with our various regulatory agencies for review as we speak, but some pretty large build out plans across the upper Midwest and working on additional expansion plans in Colorado. These would be likely independent from the NEVI funding, potentially overlapping. But regardless, this is an effort that we see, to just further encourage the clean energy transition, to further fill gaps within the public charging realm.

And so out of everything, we've got some, like I said, some pretty ambitious plans out there. We're still pretty early on. So I want to consider these, maybe more considerations and less lessons learned. Let's talk in the air and see what stuff is going well and not. But I'll talk through—I kind of wrote down four different items here around considerations to be thinking about when it comes to contracting.

And so the first one, Jim touched on it in his presentation. But just how do we package this up? I call it EPC, plus being a maintenance aspect. In the past, we have done more piecemeal contracts like that.

And we're definitely heading towards more of a turnkey approach. Either one could be sufficient. The former puts a lot of importance on the roles and responsibilities, clearly knowing who is responsible for what, versus a turnkey. It's a little bit easier to put everything in that scope. But just a consideration, no right or wrong way. But I've got to be clear about who's responsible for what.

The second item here, this is something we've been learning a lot lately is around the charging network. And when it comes specifically to public charging, there's, as a utility, I think we're traditionally focused on the infrastructure. There's a whole super important element around the customer experience. What do they see at the site? Does the site feel safe to them?

And then the actual interaction with the charger itself. How do you pay? What does your bill look like? What if there's an issue on the site and you need to call the driver support, call the call center? All those customer facing interactions that really get set by the choice of the charging network really sets the foundation for that.

Not that things can't be customized or adjusted, but you're really kind of locked into some of those key items when you choose the charging network. And so that's just been another one that we're really thinking about carefully here and choosing who we select is our network operator.

The third item here, material lead times, was touched on a little bit earlier. They're already long, and they're probably going to get longer, I suspect, as all this funding becomes available and everyone's trying to scoop up the same type of equipment. And so, really, that just comes down to plan early, get stuff going early.

Even interconnection times with the utility, transformer availability. That's something that the utilities traditionally are going to provide. And those have gone from three to six months over two years' lead time and just in the last couple of years. So I just can't emphasize enough—plan early, plan often, order early.

But again, then you're balancing, do I have things developed enough to know that I'm buying the right equipment? But just be super mindful of the equipment lead times.

And then the fourth item here. There's just a lot of vendors offering EV infrastructure services. And so, I think it ensures that folks carefully—every organization is probably have a different way for doing that and different criteria that's important. But it's just kind of the cool and trendy thing right now, to be doing EV installations. So other traditional infrastructure companies that have no experience doing EVs, they want in. And so, they're pitching it. But do they have the proven experience doing this? I suggest looking at that carefully.

That is all I have on the slides here. So Heather, if I'm passing it back to you for Q&A, I'll stop sharing here.

Heather Richardson: Actually, Craig, one thing before you go—because Alexa mentioned vocabulary being important. And I have to admit, I don't know what EP and C stand for in your previous slide. So just helping acclimate all of us to the same language.

Craig Miller:  I apologize. So engineering procurement construction. Breezed right through that. But kind of a traditional EPC type, breaking out those, having a design firm, having a vendor doing the material procurement or sourcing that through a material supplier and then another firm for construction and insulation, maybe a fourth firm for ongoing maintenance. That's what I'm getting at there, how much do you break this up versus have it as one turnkey provider.

Heather Richardson: OK. Thank you. So I'd like to invite all the panelists back on screen. And we'll go to some of the questions that we've been bringing in from the chat. Again, thank you all for your time.

This has been really informative for all of us. The first question is for FHWA. And it is, "Does USD 23 section 112 apply to the CFI grants as well, or is it just NEVI?"

Jim DeSanto: Well, I'll only say that, of course, we weren't really talking about CFI. We were really focused on this presentation as NEVI, the NEVI particular program. I think the Charging and Fuel Infrastructure program is in Title 23, in 23 USC 151. So I'll leave it at that.

Heather Richardson: OK. Another quick question for FHWA is, "If an EV charger is built on private property, does that federalize the whole property?"

Suraiya Motsinger: I guess I'll jump in. No. You may have heard that if you use one dollar of federal funding on a project, that federalizes a project. So the project could be federalized. Actually, we might need to get clarification on what that question is. Because if it's a question about federalizing toll facilities, there's a whole other set of questions and answers. And that's something that we have guidance on and we want to be very particular about getting back to.

But if you just have a private piece of property and you want to install an EV charger on it, generally, you can do so without applying federal regulations to your entire private piece of property. Jim, did I answer that fair? I want to make sure I'm not misleading when it comes to toll facilities and everything.

Heather Richardson: Great. Thanks. This question is for Alexa. "Can you share what you felt were the biggest challenges and choke points in your grant and contracts deployment process?" And specifically, there is an explanation, "—meaning what aspects of the process most contributed to delays and hiccups in your process?"

Alexa Voytek: Yeah. So I touched on this a little bit. But when we were designing the Fast Charge TN Network, we were leveraging Volkswagen funds as well as TVA funds. We actually wanted to leverage a third funding source, which was the HIP funds from the Federal Highway Administration.

Because if you recall, there was a notice that went out saying that you could apply those funds towards EV charging on designated auto corridors. So we were trying to create this cocktail of funding sources, essentially. So I would say that the biggest delay, or the biggest kind of thing that added time to the process, was trying to design a program that met all the common denominators of those funding sources.

So we spent a significant amount of time trying to actually bake in federal rules and requirements to the funding. Even though we ultimately never leveraged HIP for Fast Charge TN, because we were anticipating that we might. So we wanted it to all look the same, so that regardless of who was funding you, whether it was TDOT or TVA, the offering was the same. And so, I would say that just from the program design perspective, that's what really kind of added a lot of time.

And then when NEVI was announced, like I said, we hit pause to then kind of bake in a second funding tier to our program to allow folks to apply for a higher funding cap to try and build something that could be deemed maybe compliant later on. So similarly, that kind of added some time to the process. But we were just, like I said, trying to be good stewards of the funds, so that we would be using them kind of in tandem with one another rather than having them kind of in their own separate silos.

Heather Richardson: Thank you. And this question is for both Alexa and Craig. "Are there any terms for a charging station deployment contract that you include now that you didn't think to include before, didn't know about it?" And Alexa, you had mentioned briefly that the recommendation for insurance. But just thought we would find out what your big lessons learned that affected contract terms.

Alexa Voytek: Yeah, I can go first, though. Yeah. So because of that situation where a charger was vandalized, we now include it in our Fast Charge TN contract templates. And we worked with our Office of General Counsel on this, but we included some language essentially saying that if any of the equipment that was funded by the grant or supported by the grant is damaged, destroyed, or otherwise rendered inoperable, the grantee would be responsible for essentially kind of repairing that equipment or purchasing new equipment that meets or exceeds the standards of the grant program at their own cost.

And so essentially, we also then hint that they may want to have some type of insurance policy, but it's up to them. And that's kind of just their own kind of calculus in terms of how to make that happen.

Heather Richardson: Craig, anything to add to that?

Craig Miller:  Yeah. So I touched on the 30 or so sites that are in active development for us right now. Those took off before the NEVI minimum requirements were out there. We're kind of in this process, similar to Alexa.

I wouldn't say we put them totally on hold but we're working to reverse-engineer the new requirements back into a lot of those sites where we think it makes sense. It's not necessarily all of them, because we're funding that independent of the federal funds.

But it really—as we've reviewed that in a ton of detail, as I'm sure everybody has, we're feeling a sense, a pretty good foundation of requirements, interoperability, customer experience. It just kind of covers most of the areas that we have been concerned about in the past. And so we're just really in the process of retroactively getting those into our sites that are underway.

Heather Richardson: Thanks. A quick follow up, Craig—is Xcel making any plans to kind of hold or reserve transformers for sites like Nevada while the state DOTs are working through some of their processes?

Craig Miller:  Yeah. I'll say the short answer is we reserve them for expected future needs. And certainly, EV adoption overall is a huge one. I mean, probably the single biggest one. We're in the Denver area. There's a ton of development on the residential and commercial side. So we're looking in meeting with the developers, the HBAs out here, looking at what kind of demand might that place on our system.

And then from there, we can kind of forecast out growth overall in our system and then use that to—I mean, essentially preorder material. The whole industry, the whole nation has been hit pretty hard with the transformer lead time issues the last few years. We've been in a pretty good spot relatively speaking just based on our proactive planning and ordering of that equipment well in advance of the known needs.

So I guess, said another way, we're not going to wait for specific projects to come through and apply to us and say, we need this at this location. We'll say, great. Get in line for your equipment in two years. We're working much further ahead of the specific projects.

Heather Richardson: Thanks. And I'll make this our last question so that I can take care of a little bit of housekeeping and we can end on time. This goes back to Suiraya and Jim. "With the design-build process, do the locations have to be chosen ahead of time by the states in order to use that process?"

Jim DeSanto: Well, I'll speak to that. I think from the processes that I've seen so far, states are identifying corridors or corridor groups' potential locations, issuing an RFP and soliciting proposals to propose on to provide sites within specific corridors or groups.

Based on my read of the design-build, I would think that would be sufficient, that an actual parcel would necessarily need to be identified at the time of a request for proposal. I was looking at it more of we're soliciting proposals, where the state DOTs are soliciting proposals back from private sector and from public entities as well to identify within those alternative fuel corridor or specific locations.

Heather Richardson: Great. Thanks. I'm going to go back to sharing my screen because we just have a couple remaining slides to go through. There are several states that have their requests for proposals and RFIs out. So we listed to Colorado and PennDOT have theirs out. They were also presenters last week in our site evaluation webinar. And then additionally, speaking of webinars, we have quite a set coming up that I just want to make you all aware of.

Alexa, you had mentioned some issues on site design. We're actually doing our second of four site design webinars next week with more of the physical design aspect of the stations. And then later, in June, we'll have one that is about future-proofing and resiliency, and then one from the Access Board, specifically, on accessibility. And you can register for any of these webinars on

Then lastly, just want to say a big thank you to all of the presenters today. We really appreciate your time. And all of the participants, I know everyone is extremely busy trying to sort out what their programs and processes look like. And we hope that these webinars continue to be helpful to you. And with that, I will end the webinar. Thank you all so much.