Virginia pilot program halves electricity bill for charging EVs overnight

Regardless of whether the internal combustion engine gets snuffed out this century, EV chargers aren't going to replace gas pumps at the rate they're presently rolling out, so it's quite likely new Leaf and Prius PHEV owners will need to charge at home. How might that affect one's electricity bill? It'll probably go up, but a Virginia utility says that a full tank of juice might not cost all that much. Dominion Virginia Power is volunteering to cut its rates by more than half for off-peak charging as part of a proposed pilot program, whereby 750 lucky EV owners will get enough electricity for a 40-mile commute for just 35 cents so long as they charge overnight. The utility's not talking kilowatt-hours here, but it says it typically gets $0.86 for the same amount. The deal requires the installation of a specially-approved charging station, but Virginia's looking at a second scheme too -- if those 750 agree to pay a flexible off-peak rate of between $0.33 and $0.41 per 40-mile dose, they can power the rest of their house using the budget volts as well. PR after the break.

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Dominion Virginia Power Proposes Rate Options for Charging of Electric Vehicles

- Proposed rates would offer time-of-day pricing for electric vehicles
- Pricing structure would encourage off-peak charging
- Opportunity to better understand electric vehicle energy usage

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), Monday 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 with enough electricity for a typical commute of 40 miles. This 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, vice president of Customer Solutions and Energy Efficiency. "Dominion supports federal initiatives to lessen our nation's use of petroleum and Gov. Bob McDonnell's energy plan to improve the energy efficiency of vehicles in the state and utilize alternate fuels."

"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.

The two experimental rate options being offered to electric vehicle owners as a part of the proposed pilot are:

Electric Vehicle only – This option 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 with enough electricity for a typical 40-mile commute.
Customers electing 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.

Whole House – This option allows you 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 have 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.

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,600 megawatts of generation, 12,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,000 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system with 942 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 13 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at