Electric Vehicles

Report details charging station demand charge alternatives

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A new report from the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center details how several utilities are proposing demand charge alternatives for the owners of electric vehicle fast charging stations as a way in which to encourage the buildout of DC fast chargers.

The report, “50 States of Electric Vehicles,” was released on Nov. 7 and highlights EV activities in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2018.

 Utilities proposing demand charge alternatives for fast charging stations was listed in the report as one of the top EV policy trends of the quarter.

The report notes that owners of DC fast charging stations are typically billed on a utility’s general service tariff with a three-part rate, including per-kWh energy charges, a demand charge, and a fixed charge.

“The fast charging nature of these stations results in high demand charges on owners’ bills, which can be a deterrent to developing this infrastructure,” N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center said. “To overcome this obstacle and encourage the buildout of DC fast chargers, several utilities are proposing demand charge alternatives for the owners of fast charging stations.”

The reported noted that in Nevada, a recent proposal from investor-owned NV Energy includes a demand charge discount, gradually decreasing over a ten-year period, and PECO’s proposal in Pennsylvania uses a five-year demand credit.

In New Jersey, PSE&G proposed monthly rebates over a five-year period, while Orange and Rockland Utilities in New York put forward a 20% discount on delivery rates, the report said.

Meanwhile, Pacific Power’s new Washington state tariff initially excludes demand charges, transitioning to demand charges over years three through twelve of the tariff.

N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center noted that National Grid’s recently approved electric transportation plan in Rhode Island offers a credit to offset 100% of the demand charge for three years.

In recent related news, California investor-owned utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company on Nov. 5 submitted a proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission to establish new commercial EV charging rates to help drive more rapid customer adoption.

PG&E said its proposal would replace demand charges with new subscription pricing, which allows customers to choose the amount of power they need for their charging stations, similar to choosing a data plan for a cell-phone bill. “This subscription charge is much lower than current demand charges, and allows customers to have simpler, more consistent monthly costs,” the utility said.

Utilities collecting data on EV charging patterns

Another EV policy trend for the third quarter noted in the report is that several utilities are making concerted efforts to collect data on charging patterns of EV owners. “This data can be used to inform new rate designs, infrastructure investment, and managed charging programs,” the report noted.

The Tennessee Valley Authority recently announced a two-year voluntary program using data loggers to better understand charging habits.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities directed National Grid to collect charging data in order to develop time-varying rates and a potential electric vehicle demand response program in the future.

PSE&G New Jersey proposed a technical trial as part of its Residential Smart Charging Program, which would collect data from 500 participating vehicles, and Delmarva Power & Light in Delaware proposed an incentive for customers opting to use a device collecting data on charging station usage location, time, and amount of charge.

32 states, District of Columbia took actions related to EVs, charging infrastructure

The report said that 32 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during the third quarter of 2018, with the greatest number of actions relating to Level 2 charging station deployment, followed by electric vehicle rate tariffs, rebate programs, and DC fast charging station deployment.

A total of 211 electric vehicle actions were taken during the third quarter of 2018. New Jersey, California, New York, and Massachusetts took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, accounting for over half of the quarter’s activity.

The report’s executive summary is available here.