- Three investor-owned utilities in Minnesota have begun to file off-peak electric rates for plug-in vehicle charging, as required by a state law passed last year, the Star Tribune reports.
- Xcel Energy's proposed off-peak rate would allow customers to charge vehicles for 3.3 cents/KWh from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. during the week and all weekend, more than a 40% discount to residential service.
- Minnesota's state law also directed the utilities to offer an option of purchasing all renewable power to refuel electric vehicles.
The Star Tribune points out that investor-owned utilities have begun to file proposals for off-peak EV charging, with Xcel, Otter Tail and Minnesota Power of Duluth all indicating they will offer new rates.
“This is really how we’re seeing the future," Chris Clark, president of Xcel’s Minnesota regional operations, told the newspaper. "We think customers are going to want to tailor their energy services to what their particular uses are.”
According to the utility, there are about 2,000 electric cars are in its Minnesota territory, and the off-peak rates equate to about 50 cents per gallon of gasoline.
Offering lower off-peak rates has been one way utilities are dealing with the demand growth from electric vehicles. Lower rates, in conjunction with the proliferation of charging stations, are key to helping spread the technology.
Otter Tail Power, in its application, said it anticipates approximately 1.3 GWh of off-peak energy sales from the proposed rate over a five-year period, or roughly equivalent to approximately 100 total electric vehicles. The utility estimated EV cars in its territory would travel about 15,000 miles per year, using 34 KWh per 100 miles.
Xcel customers will be subject to a monthly $4.95 customer charge to cover fixed customer-related costs including additional metering requirements, to ensure there is no cost for the tariff to non-participating customers.