Providing natural gas and electricity to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan's ten million residents is what Consumers Energy does. Offering a discounted charge for plug-in vehicle owners is what the company strives to do with its new nighttime rate program. Consumers Energy is introducing three rate programs that could provide a price break for plug-in vehicle owners. That is, provided that they are able and willing to charge up during off-peak (11 p.m. - 7 a.m.) hours.

Seth Gerber, electric vehicle program manager for Consumers Energy, outlined three options for plug-in vehicle owners, which we've presented in condensed form below:
  • Option one would link an entire household, including the electric vehicle, to a customer's current panel. All electricity would run through the current meter. Energy users would incur different per-kilowatt hour charges dependent upon the time of day that electricity is used.
  • Option two would isolate the plug-in vehicle on a separate meter, with rates based on the time of day that said vehicle is charged.
  • Option three would provide a separate meter for plug-in vehicles, but work on the basis of a fixed monthly rate of $35 for the first 300 kilowatt-hours used. This option is limited to the first 250 customers.
Gerber wants to encourage customers to charge vehicles during off-peak hour and believes that the three rate programs will motivate plug-in vehicles owners to get their fill during the evening and overnight hours. The rates will go into effect this November, but the optional programs are only available to those who own highway-capable plug-in vehicles. Owners of low-speed NEVs need not apply.

[Source: MLive]

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