Electric Vehicles

Burlington Electric Department unveils EV incentives

Vermont’s Burlington Electric Department (BED) has unveiled a series of incentives for electric vehicles, including an off-peak charging rate that equates to 60 cents a gallon of gasoline.

BED, Vermont’s largest public power utility serving more than 19,600 customers, has a goal of making Burlington a net-zero energy city by 2030, which means getting all its energy — including for ground transportation — from renewables.

BED’s growing EV incentive program comes as electric utilities around the United States are increasingly exploring ways to help their customers shift to electric vehicles, a move that can help utilities, cities and states reach greenhouse gas and other goals.

For customers with electric vehicles, BED has started offering a new residential rate of 8 cents per kilowatt hour during off-peak hours, which start at 10 p.m. and run to noon, a 45 percent savings from the regular 14.7 per kWh rate, according to a January 22 announcement.

Customers who charge their vehicles in the off-peak period for an entire month will receive a bill credit for all their EV charging that month. However, if customers charge outside the off-peak hours at any time in a given month, they will be charged the regular residential rate for the month. They can take advantage of the off-peak rate the following month.

BED estimates that a customer who switches from a gasoline vehicle to an EV, drives 12,000 miles a year, and takes advantage of the new charging rate will save about $76 a month, or $912 a year.

The EV rate will help drivers charge when electric demand is low and use the grid more efficiently, according to Darren Springer, BED’s general manager.

“When our community uses power off-peak, we avoid the need for additional grid infrastructure investments and avoid additional costs, providing a benefit to all BED customers,” Springer said.

Besides the new off-peak charging rate, BED also started giving customers who buy all-electric vehicles an additional $400 rebate for eligible Level 2 home charging stations.

BED also increased its incentives for buying and leasing plug-in hybrid vehicles to $1,000, with an additional $500 rebate for low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers.

BED is continuing to offer incentives of $1,200, and $1,800 for LMI customers, for buying all electric vehicles.

“For Burlington to become a net zero energy city, we must tackle the ground transportation sector’s growing greenhouse gas emissions by strategically electrifying our vehicle fleet,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Through lease and purchase incentives, partnerships with vehicle dealers, and a new charging rate, BED is showing the country how an innovative, 21st century utility can push forward the decarbonization of transportation.”

BED launched its original EV incentive program in May 2017. Nine months later, BED partnered with three local credit unions on low- and, under some circumstances, no-interest loans. BED has awarded its customers 61 EV rebates, according to the utility.

Burlington, a city of about 42,500, has 14 charging stations with 26 charging ports.

For additional information about public power utilities and EVs, check out the American Public Power Association’s EV webpage, which includes resources such as a guide that walks public power utility leaders and staff through the steps in creating a strategy, planning, and executing an electric vehicle program in their community.