Dominion Virginia Power electric vehicle charging pilot program begins

Richmond, Va., October 3, 2011 — Dominion Virginia Power customers who drive electric vehicles can now take advantage of special rates to charge their vehicles overnight.

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

Industry experts say that based on the state's relatively large amount of first-generation hybrid vehicles, Virginia could be one of the hottest markets for plug-in electric vehicles.

Dominion believes that by 2020 there could be 86,000 electric vehicles in Virginia — equal to 5 percent of all vehicle sales. If charged on-peak, these vehicles could lead to an increase in the amount of peak-demand electricity the company must supply that year by about 270 MW, which is the equivalent of powering 67,500 homes.  

Customers have two rate options from which to choose:

* Electric Vehicle only — With this option, a second meter is installed at the customer's home. The meter is used to measure energy use specific to recharging the vehicle on a dedicated electric circuit. The company estimates it would cost about 54 cents on this rate to charge an electric vehicle overnight with enough electricity for a typical 40-mile commute. Costs would be higher if the vehicle is charged during the day. An additional customer service charge of $2.90 for the second meter is included on the customer's monthly bill.

* Whole House — This option allows customers to take advantage of lower prices for all their household electricity use, including recharging their vehicles. Prices are lower at night to encourage the off-peak charging of electric vehicles and use of other household appliances, such as dishwashers and clothes dryers.

With this option, the customer's meter is replaced with one that records energy use in 30-minute intervals. Thus, the company can apply pricing for specific time periods. Customers who choose this option will notice that electricity prices and peak times fluctuate based on season. Dominion estimates it would cost about 51 cents in the summer and 61 cents in the winter on this rate to charge an electric vehicle overnight with enough electricity for a typical 40-mile commute.

By contrast, it would cost about $1.10 to charge an electric vehicle using Dominion Virginia Power's standard residential rate of about 11 cents per kWh.

Each pilot rate option is limited to 750 participants. Each participant will have to stay enrolled in the pilot for at least one year. The pilot ends Nov. 30, 2014. Each year the pilot is in effect, the company will submit an annual report to the Virginia State Corporation Commission that details 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.

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