Dominion Virginia Power plans electric vehicle recharging pilot

Richmond, Va., July 26, 2011 Dominion Virginia Power, a unit of Dominion, is moving forward with an electric vehicle recharging pilot program following the approval of the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

The pilot is designed to test whether electric vehicle owners will choose to recharge their vehicles during off-peak hours — typically overnight — in exchange for lower electricity costs.

The SCC gave its approval on July 11. Interested customers will be able to sign up for the pilot program beginning Oct. 3. The company intends to partner with car dealerships and charger installation vendors to build customer awareness.

Based on rates effective Oct. 3, customers in the pilot could pay as little as 41 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 94 cents when using the standard residential electric rate.

Virginia has been identified by industry experts as potentially one of the hottest markets for plug-in electric vehicles based on the state's relatively large number of first-generation hybrid vehicles.

Dominion believes there could be 86,000 electric vehicles in the state — equal to 5 percent 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, which is the equivalent of powering 67,500 homes.  

Each rate option would be limited to 750 participants who would have to 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.

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of about 28,200 MW of generation, 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,300 miles of electric transmission lines.

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