The feds may be willing to make some financial concessions to encourage electric-vehicle use, but utility companies? Not so much. Just six percent of U.S. utilities offer special electricity rates for plug-in vehicle drivers charging their vehicles at home, according to a report released this week.

Out of all utility companies in the U.S., just 22 – which operate in 11 states – offer special rates customized for EV charging, or tariffs, according to a study from the Northeast Group LLC. These tariffs come in the form or either a pre-set monthly rate, or special, off-peak rates for those who charge their vehicles overnight. When the tariffs are in place, some EV owners can cut their annual recharging fees in half, Northeast Group says.

Hawaii, Michigan and Nevada are the most EV-friendly states when it comes to utilities that offer special EV recharging rates, according to the report. Arizona, California, Indiana and Virginia are among states where utilities have added special EV tariffs during the past year. What does it look like in your neck of the woods?
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Only 6% of US utilities offer electric vehicle tariffs for their customers

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Electricity tariffs designed specifically for electric vehicle (EV) recharging are a key driver to promote the growth of EVs. Currently, in the United States only 6% of electric utilities offer special EV tariffs and rates for their customers, according to the second annual United States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs (Volume II) study released today by Northeast Group, LLC. The study benchmarks all of the EV tariffs launched to-date by utilities in the United States.

The benchmark reveals that 22 utilities across 11 states have launched EV tariffs for their customers, as of the end of the first half of 2012. EV tariffs are important in helping increase drivers' adoption of EVs as they offer cheaper recharging options compared with standard household electricity tariffs.

In just the past year, utilities in Arizona, California, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia have added new EV tariffs. In Hawaii, Michigan and Nevada, more than 90 of state residents have access to EV tariffs. The large California utilities were early pioneers in launching EV tariffs. As EV numbers grow over the coming years, EV penetration rates are likely to be higher in states with utilities offering their customers EV tariffs.

"Under all utility EV tariffs across the US, electric vehicles are much cheaper to 'fuel' compared with conventional vehicles, with most EV fueling costs between just 10 the cost of internal combustion engine vehicles," according to Northeast Group. This can equate to savings of more than $2,000 per year for those recharging EVs versus refueling conventional vehicles with gasoline. Furthermore, special EV tariffs were found to save EV owners more money compared with standard residential electricity tariffs. EV tariffs can save approximately half the cost per year for EV owners, compared with standard electricity tariffs.

EV tariffs offered by utilities have been structured in two main forms to-date: time-of-use (TOU) tariffs and flat rate tariffs. TOU tariffs typically provide for cheaper overnight and off-peak rates for those recharging EVs. Flat rate tariffs charge customers one fixed monthly fee for recharging EVs. In addition, sliding scale tariffs – where rates increase with usage - can also be incorporated in some form with both tariff structures above.

United States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs (Volume II) builds upon the first volume of the EV tariff benchmark, published at this time last year. This second volume provides a description of the different EV tariff structures offered across the country, a list of utilities and their specific tariff structures, a comparison and further analysis of these tariffs. For example, the study includes an analysis of how different tariffs' costs vary depending on distance driven and the time of day an EV is recharged. An appendix in the study includes details on all of the EV tariffs offered by the 22 utilities in the US.

The report is 40 pages long and includes 22 graphs and tables. Those who will benefit from purchasing this study may include:
  • Electric utilities in the US planning on launching an EV tariff;
  • Public Utility Commissions interested in learning more about EV tariffs launched across the US;
  • International regulatory bodies interested in launching similar EV tariffs in their respective countries;
  • Electric vehicle manufacturers wanting to know which states currently have utilities actively supporting EVs with special tariffs and rates;
  • Research institutes and academics studying the potential for EVs;
  • Regulatory lawyers;
  • Consulting firms.
Those interested in purchasing the study can find an order form on Northeast Group's website at www.northeast-group.com, or by emailing Ben Gardner at: ben.gardner@northeast-group.com

ABOUT: Northeast Group, LLC is a Washington, DC-based smart grid market intelligence firm.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      In the UK, we have become almost entirely independent of Utility energy since installing a bio-mass generator. In fact we generate so much surplus power we can supply others. It's the cost of transmission that's expensive. In Australia, the Federal Labour/Green government spent a great deal of taxpayers money subsidizing Solar power, only to discover that the ill-conceived, poorly managed and inadequately monitored scheme disintegrated into a free-for-all of corruption and waste. Cheap, poorly made and inappropriate solar panels flooded in from the PRC, and were offered for sale at ridiculously cheap prices by fly-by-night installers. The utilities, whom the government forced to offer overly generous solar generation buy back schemes, (funded by government subsidies), promptly revoked the incentives once government released them from the obligation. The federal government then cancelled the solar subsidies in a bid to reduce the chicanery. The Australian Solar Industry collapsed into ruin and bankruptcy. Companies who had been in the Solar business for 40 years were ruined, and consumers became angry having spent heavily, discovered that the promised by back of surplus was ending. In the meantime, the aging power transmission infrastructure which had been promised cheap loans to update, found that the money had been diverted to unprofitable government schemes, so power prices rose by 100-130 % in two years ! As if all this wasn't sufficiently onerous on the unfortunate taxpayer, the government then broke it's election promise and introduced a "Carbon Tax' ! The 'Carbon tax' is a typical leftist stunt. The theory being to impose a burden on the carbon producer, in the hope of reducing carbon and forcing the producer to reduce carbon pollution. In fact, it creates the opposite ! The government, in it's anxiety to avoid consumer back lash, makes a cash payment to the consumer to compensate for any price rise (In fact twice over), so the carbon producer pays the carbon tax to government, and passes the additional cost to the consumer. Now the government, pays a cash sum to the consumer to compensate for higher prices ! Insanity ! And all this in a nation with the brightest, most Solar intense climate of any developed nation !
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      You can always become your own power company. :) That is my plan.
      gomducks
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've had an EV rate from SCE in Southern California for over 3 years. It makes total sense as it encourages me to charge during off-peak hours (about 97% of my charging is off-peak.) I wonder if SCE would have offered these rates on their own- I suspect there was involvement from state agencies suh as CARB and/ or CPUC to make it happen but I've never really looked into that.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gomducks
        I have a single meter Home & EV Time Of Use rate from SCE and I'm pretty happy with my rates. My last month's electric bill was less than $70 compared to my previous $250 for gas + electric. I do get work place charging for free though so that does cut into my usage patterns. I believe SCE has offered an EV rate for over a decade. They are one of the most involved utilities in the EV field with a EV technical center that has been operating for over 20 years.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      PG&E does, but you can't get it if you have solar.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        You probably don't need it if you have solar. PG&E doesn't want people making money off them with EV & solar combos. If you have a TOU metering plan and an EV, you sell them lots of expensive peak power during the day and buy some cheap power from them at night such that they'll owe you money.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Spec, It doesn't work that way with PG&E. If you sell 1 peak KWh at $0.55 and buy 1 off-peak KWh at $0.05, PG&E owes you nothing. This is why PG&E likes solar, it is a great bargain! The only case where PG&E gives you money is if your actual usage is less than what you produce, in KWh terms alone. In this case, PG&E must purchase the excess electricity and send you a check, but at a bargain basement price per KWh. I think the buy-back rate is something like $0.08 per KWh, regardless of when the electricity is taken up by the grid (hint: when solar is active). I just learned all of this last month, for my "true-up." We produced $145 in electricity more than what we used, but because we used more KWhs than what our PV system produced, no PG&E check for me! None of the rest of yous, neither!! This is a very common misconception, one that benefits PG&E greatly. PG&E sucks. They just received approval by CPUC to get rid of TOU schedules for EV rates (disincenting conservation). Also approved was raising the EV tariff rates across the board and capping the number of EV rate subscribers. Boo.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even those who don't fancy having fuel cells in their cars might like the idea of charging their batteries using them. Here is progress on Ceres home SOFC cells: http://fuelcellsworks.com/news/2012/07/26/ceres-power-announces-that-it-remains-on-track-to-commercialise-its-unique-low-cost-sofc-technology-platform/ 'An independent review conducted by Booz & Company, in conjunction with AEA Technology, has confirmed the low-cost capability of the Ceres micro-CHP product design for launch in 2016. Based on quotations from the Company’s supply chain partners and applying cost-down experience curves for similar mass volume technology products, the independent review validated the variable cost estimates of Ceres 1kW CHP product to be circa £2,500 and circa £1,750 at volumes of 20k and 100k per annum respectively (this includes the fuel cell stack of circa £380 and circa £250 for the same volumes). The Board is confident that Ceres low cost micro-CHP design can secure significant market share from conventional condensing boilers and offer consumers an attractive payback. U.K Feed in Tariff for micro-CHP Products Ceres Power today welcomes the announcement by U.K. Government to increase the feed in tariff (”FIT”) for micro-CHP products, including the Company’s own fuel cell micro-CHP product. The increase in the FIT to 12.5p per kWh generated, from the current level of 10.5p, is intended to accelerate consumer adoption of this technology. For a typical U.K. home with a Ceres micro-CHP unit1, it is predicted that the annual FIT will go up from £350 to £436, on top of the predicted annual energy cost savings of £286.' The issue is that a SOFC being high temperature is not much going to like being ramped up and down, so the feed in tariff should allow them to be run 24/7. It should be noted though that the feed in tariff, although much higher than the grid normally has to pay for off-peak, is nothing remotely like the absurd amount that solar feed in tariffs are in the UK. Off peak a customer here would pay around £0.07kwh, with the cost to the grid before transmission and so on of around £0.04kwh. All of that can be short circuited by using the off-peak power of your home fuel cell to charge your EV. So instead of buying electricity off the grid, where in the UK and US the heat from generating the electricity is thrown away, you have a home combined heat and power system, and the natural gas piped to your home provides most of your electricity and the otherwise wasted heat your hot water. Then overnight you charge your electric car when you don't need the electricity for your home. Not 'zero emissions' but way better than we are doing at the moment. NB:Transient power loads such as your shower with a draw of c.10kw are envisaged as being enabled by micro-grids mostly, with power from further afield only needed occasionally. Since replacement of boilers by fuel cells with take many years anyway, there is plenty of time to optimise.
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      Im sure the availability of off-peak rates would skyrocket if people would stop protesting smart meters... Also, this article is a bit misleading, those types of pricing structures have been around long before electric cars picked up.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        Some (like PG&E) have special tariffs for EVs beyond the time-of-use rate schemes you talk about. Time-of-use rate is available for almost all PG&E customers now that everyone has SmartMeters.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is probably fine since electricity is cheap in so many places of the country. Having a special EV tariff is most important in places like California with steeply tiered-rates to encourage conservation. The people getting EVs should not be paying super-high rates because they are conserving gasoline which is much more important than conserving electricity.