- Xcel Energy has proposed a new electric vehicle charging pilot for Minnesota customers that would eliminate a hurdle to signing up for EV rates — the need for a second meter.
- In addition to lower rates for charging done between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. during weekdays, and on weekends and holidays, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports the utility will assist the customer in installing a new meter that can measure the home's normal energy use as well as the vehicle charging. Previously, two separate meters were required.
- If approved by state regulators, the two-year program would launch next summer and could accommodate up to 100 participants.
Xcel offers a steep discount on the rates to charge electric vehicles, in exchange for customers shifting to off-peak hours. But the current program requires a second meter be installed, and the utility literature describing the process is not enticing.
"Drivers will know exactly how much power they’re using, since it will be measured on a separate meter," Xcel explains in a brochure for its EV rate. "When you sign up for the EV Rate, we’ll install a separate meter. However, in order to connect your charger to the new meter, you’ll need to hire a licensed electrician to install some additional equipment, which will cost you some money up front."
According to the Journal, the pilot removes that hurdle by tracking both the home and vehicle from the same meter. The utility will assist the customer in installing updated metering equipment that is also less expensive.
In 2015, Minnesota regulators approved Xcel's current EV charging rate structure. The utility's off-peak rate was set at 3.3 cents/kWh, while a peak rate allows charging at rates between 14 cents/kWh and 17.5 cents/kWh.
Minnesota was the first state to require investor-owned utilities to offer peak charging rates for electric vehicles.