Dominion Virginia Power Proposes Rate Options for Charging Electric Vehicles

Dominion Virginia Power proposed a pilot program to offer time-of-day pricing options to encourage off-peak charging of electric vehicles, taking another step in supporting the arrival of plug-in vehicles in the marketplace. If approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the voluntary pilot program would offer reduced rates for overnight charging and higher rates during peak times to Virginia customers.

Customers in the pilot would pay as little as 33 cents to charge an electric vehicle overnight to have enough electricity for a typical commute of 40 miles. This rate compares to a cost of up to 86 cents when using the standard residential electric rate.

“Based on sales of hybrid cars, we believe many of our customers will purchase electric vehicles, and they will recharge them at home. We need to be ready,” said Kenneth D. Barker, Dominion’s vice president of Customer Solutions and Energy Efficiency.

“Electric vehicles have the potential to affect the company’s infrastructure at all levels—transmission, distribution and generation. The pilot program enables the company to gauge potential impacts from electric vehicles. The pilot offers customers rate options structured with pricing levels to encourage charging outside of the peak-demand periods of the day,” Barker said.

Dominion believes the electric vehicle market has the potential to grow to 5 percent of all vehicle sales in Virginia, for a total of 86,000 electric vehicles, 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 250 megawatts.

Dominion will offer two experimental rate options to electric vehicle owners as part of the proposed pilot. The first, electric vehicle only, is for charging the electric vehicle only. The company estimates that it would cost about 35 cents on this rate to charge an electric vehicle overnight to have enough electricity for a typical 40-mile commute. Customers electing for the electric vehicle-only rate option will have a second meter installed to ensure they are billed on the special rate only for the energy used to charge their electric vehicle.

The second rate option, whole-house, allows customers to take advantage of lower prices for many household activities. The pricing would change during the day to encourage the off-peak charging of electric vehicles and use of other household appliances such as the dishwasher and clothes dryer. The company estimates that it would cost between 33 cents and 41 cents on this rate to charge an electric vehicle overnight with enough electricity for the daily commute.

The company intends to partner with car dealerships and charger installation vendors to build customer awareness. Each rate option would be limited to 750 participants, for a total of 1,500, who would need to stay enrolled for one year. The pilot would be available to customers within 90 days after SCC approval, and it would terminate Nov. 30, 2014.

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