Time-of-use electricity pricing is a good deal for all concerned. It allows consumers to save money, and it helps electric utilities to better manage their grids, by encouraging people to shift electrical usage away from peak demand periods. And of course, it provides yet another incentive to drive electric – it’s easy to schedule charging to happen late at night, or whenever rates are lowest.
Time-of-use tariffs have long been common in some European countries, where consumers have become accustomed to running washing machines, water heaters, etc, at night. A growing number of utilities in the US are offering time-of-use options aimed at EV drivers.
Now the state of Minnesota has become the first in the nation to mandate a special low-cost tariff exclusively for EV owners. The bill was championed by a couple of co-operative utility companies, enjoyed bipartisan support, and was signed into law this week by Governor Mark Drayton.
The new law will require all investor-owned utility companies in the state to offer EV tariffs to customers. It also mandates that utilities provide the option of zero-emissions renewable energy tariffs. For every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed by the customer, the utility company will have to generate or import an equivalent amount of renewable electricity.