Dominion shops program for electric cars

Published 10:52 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dominion Virginia Power has proposed a pilot program that would pave the way for the arrival of electric cars in the marketplace.

The program would offer lower prices in off-peak electricity demand hours. Customers would volunteer for the new rates, which could apply either to the electric vehicle only or to the entire home.

“Based on sales of hybrid cars, we believe many of our customers will purchase electric vehicles, and they will recharge them at home,” said Kenneth D. Barker, vice president of customer solutions and energy efficiency. “We need to be ready.”


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Those who opt to apply the lower prices only to their electric vehicle would need to have a second meter installed. Both experimental rate options will be offered to electric vehicle owners as soon as the move is approved by the State Corporation Commission.

The company estimates that under the new rate it would cost between 33 and 41 cents to charge an electric vehicle overnight with enough energy for a 40-mile commute. The cost could be up to 86 cents with the standard residential electric rate.

“Dominion supports federal initiatives to lessen our nation’s use of petroleum and Gov. Bob McDonnell’s energy plan to improve the energy efficiency of vehicles in the state and utilize alternate fuels,” Barker said.

Electric vehicles will increase the amount of electricity demanded by Dominion customers, Barker said. If they are charged during the peak-demand daytime hours, Dominion could have to build new infrastructure capable of generating and transmitting more energy at one time.

Dominion intends to partner with car dealerships and charger installation vendors to let customers know about the program, Barker said. Each rate option is limited to a total of 750 participants, who would have to remain enrolled for one year. The pilot program would begin within 90 days of SCC approval and would end on Nov. 30, 2014.

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