Virginia Utility Launches EV Charging Program

Dominion Virginia Power is moving forward with an electric vehicle (EV) recharging pilot program following the approval of the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC). The program is designed to test whether EV owners will choose to recharge their vehicles during off-peak hours in exchange for lower electricity costs.

The company intends to partner with car dealerships and charger installation vendors to build customer awareness. Dominion believes there could be 86,000 EVs in the state – which would represent 5% of all vehicle sales – by 2020. If charged on-peak, these vehicles could lead to an increase in the amount of peak-demand electricity that the company must supply that year by about 270 MW, according to Dominion.

The two experimental rate options are as follows:

  • Electric vehicle only: Customers electing the EV-only rate option will have a second meter installed to measure the energy use specific to recharging the vehicle; and
  • Whole house: The pricing for this option would change during the day to encourage the off-peak charging of EVs and use of other household appliances.

‘We believe many of our customers will purchase electric vehicles and they will recharge them at home,’ says Kenneth D. Barker, vice president of customer solutions and energy conservation. ‘This pilot program will allow us to gauge the impact of EVs on our system, from the power station to the house.’

Each rate option would be limited to 750 participants, who must stay enrolled for at least one year. The pilot will terminate Nov. 30, 2014. The company will submit an annual report to the commission that will detail the number of program participants, an assessment of the feasibility and implications on the public interest of continuing the program, and any other relevant information.

Interested customers will be able to sign up for the pilot program beginning Oct. 3. Based on rates effective Oct. 3, customers in the pilot could pay as little as $0.41 to charge an EV overnight with enough electricity for a typical commute of 40 miles. This compares to a cost of up to $0.94 when using the standard residential electric rate, according to the utility.

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