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People keep stealing EV charging equipment from USPS

A United States Postal Service electric delivery vehicle, plugged into a charging station.

A USPS electric vehicle charges at the agency's headquarters in December 2022. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

If you think seeing packages get stolen from your porch is annoying, imagine what it's like to get the charging equipment swiped from your electric vehicle.

Driving the news: The U.S. Postal Service is struggling to hold onto expensive charging equipment as it expands its fleet of electric delivery vans, per a recent inspector general's report.

What's happening: The agency lost $67,000 in assets last year from a central storage facility in Kansas, the audit found, because it "did not provide sufficient oversight or resolve security deficiencies in a timely manner."

Context: The results come as USPS invests $9.6 billion to electrify its delivery fleet, namely by deploying 66,000 electric delivery vehicles and 41,500 charging stations through the next four years.

Of note: USPS management told the inspector general's office that it's "employed all available physical safety measures that were operationally available."

  • "Measures to mitigate security risk to the facility have been taken and will be maintained until permanent facility construction upgrades are completed."

Big picture: The thefts aren't great. But other sections of the report seem to paint a positive picture of the postal service's EV program, which remains in its early stages.

  • USPS maintained "effective contract oversight" and "performance monitoring" of the charging stations' short-term reliability, the audit found.
  • The agency is meanwhile developing long-term monitoring plans.

Our thought bubble: We would've expected USPS to run into technical or infrastructure challenges as it builds out its EV fleet. Stopping repeated thefts — that would seem the easiest problem to fix.

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