Xcel Energy, Minnesota’s largest power company, has asked state regulators to approve an off-peak EV charging rate of of 3.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, a 43 percent discount to the usual residential rate.
“We are trying to provide more options for customers,” said Xcel exec Chris Clark. “This is really how we’re seeing the future. We think customers are going to want to tailor their energy services to what their particular uses are.”
With fuel charges added, the rate, which would apply from 9 pm to 9 am on weekdays, and all weekend, would actually be 6 cents per kWh. Participants must also pay a $4.95 monthly charge to cover the cost of a separate electric meter. Clark said EV owners should save about $9 per month.
According to Xcel, there are about 2,000 electric cars are in its Minnesota territory, and the off-peak rates equate to about 50 cents per gallon of gasoline.
Under a 2014 state law, investor-owned utilities must offer special rates to plug-in drivers, as well as the option to buy renewable power. Xcel, which is the nation’s most windpower-reliant utility, also proposes to give customers the option to purchase only wind power – the “Windsource” option would cost about $2 more per month.
According to the Northeast Group, 25 utilities in 14 states currently offer special EV rates. Minnesota is the first state to require that they do so. Minnesota Power of Duluth and Otter Tail Power of Fergus Falls said they will also offer EV rate programs.