Will consumers elect to recharge their electric vehicles (EV) during off-peak hours – typically overnight – in exchange for lower electricity prices? A new Dominion Virginia Power (DVP) pilot program aims to test that theory.
Based on electricity rates upon sign-up on Oct. 3, an off-peak charge for a typical electric automobile could be less than half the cost of a charge during peak hours. Customers in the pilot could pay as little as 41 cents to charge an EV overnight with enough electricity for a typical commute of 40 miles. This compares to a cost of up to 94 cents when using the standard residential electric rate.
The program offers two experimental rate options for customers. The “electric vehicle only” rate applies to power used only to charge a vehicle. A separate meter would be installed in the customer’s home to measure electricity used specifically for recharging a vehicle. The company estimates that using this option during off-peak times to charge an EV for an average commute would cost about 43 cents. The “whole house” option allows customers to elect to have their entire household on the variable plan. With lower prices in the evening, customers would be encouraged to not only charge vehicles at night, but also to schedule heavy-use tasks such as clothes drying and the dishwasher for the lower-rate evenings. A vehicle charge on the “whole house” place would cost between 41 and 49 cents.
Virginia has been identified as a burgeoning market for electric vehicle sales. It’s estimated that by 2020 there could be up to 86,000 electric vehicles in the state – equal to 5 percent of all vehicle sales. Were these cars all to be charged during peak hours, DVP could see peak-demand electricity increase about 270 megawatts, the equivalent of powering 67,500 homes.
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