Electric Vehicle Pilot Program Approved

Electric Vehicle Pilot Program Approved
17 July 2017

Electric vehicles (EVs) require no gasoline and emit no pollution from their tailpipes, so they present a critical opportunity to improve air quality while reducing fuel costs for Utah families. Incentivizing new charging options for EVs is a vital step to help more Utahns make the switch to clean electric vehicles.

The Latest: Rocky Mountain Power Receives Approval to Offer Incentives for EV Chargers and Time-of-Use Rate for EV Charging

To help more Utahns make the switch to EVs, Utah Clean Energy has been working with Rocky Mountain Power and other stakeholders to design their EV Incentive Pilot Program. The program is intended to increase installations of EV chargers throughout the utility’s service territory and encourage EV owners to charge their vehicles when overall demand for electricity is low (which avoids adding to “peak demand”.)  The EV Incentive Pilot Program has been a significant opportunity to work in tandem with our electricity provider to outline strategies that will encourage widespread EV adoption, and in doing so, improve local air quality.

EV Charging Incentive Overview

Utah Clean Energy is generally in support of the EV charging incentives that were approved as part of this pilot program, and the program incorporated several recommendations from Utah Clean Energy and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

The EV Incentive Pilot Program has a $2 million annual budget as part of the larger Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan (STEP) approved by the Utah Legislature in 2016.  See below for details:

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Charging Station Incentives

Non-residential & multifamily AC Level 2 Charger

Single port     $2,500 per charger up to 75% of total charger cost
Multi-port $3,500 per charger up to 75% of total charger cost

Non-residential & multifamily DC Fast Charger

Single port $30,000 per charger up to 75% of total charger & installation costs
Multi-port $42,000 per charger up to 75% of total charger & installation costs
Non-residential & multifamily grant-based custom projects Custom incentives
Custom Project Funding Application

Rocky Mountain Power will make the Level 2 and DC Fast Charger incentives available through September 30 of a given program year, although incentives for both categories are capped at $400,000 annually. For those interested in taking advantage of these incentives, details about the application procedure will be outlined on Rocky Mountain Power’s website.

EV Time of Use (TOU) Rate Pilot and Load Research Study

In addition to approving new incentives for EV charging, the Commission approved a residential Time of Use (TOU) Pilot Rate for EV owners and a load research study. The voluntary TOU rate seeks to encourage EV owners to charge their vehicles at off-peak times. In tandem with the Pilot TOU Rate, Rocky Mountain Power will conduct a Load Research Study to assess how effectively the TOU program influences customer behavior.

Residential customers will be invited to voluntarily participate in the Load Research Study. Those who participate will be assigned to either a control group (which will remain on the traditional residential rate, Schedule 1), or placed in one of  two pilot TOU rate options:

  • Option 1 will charge approximately $0.22 per kWh for all on-peak usage and approximately $0.07 per kWh for all off-peak usage.
  • Option 2 will charge approximately $0.34 per kWh for all on-peak usage and approximately $0.03 for all off-peak usage.

All EV owners can sign up for either of the two TOU rate options, even if they do not choose to participate in the Load Research study, and all EV owners who sign up for a TOU rate will receive a $200 incentive. TOU Pilot participants will also receive bill credits in the event that their total annual energy costs as a program participant are more than 10% higher than the costs they would have otherwise incurred under the Residential Schedule 1 rate.   

Our position

EV Charging Incentives

Utah Clean Energy strongly supports the transition to electrified transportation, and we believe that an appropriately sized charging incentive is an important step towards achieving a higher adoption rate of electric vehicles in Utah. While we support the EV charging incentives approved by the Commission, we continue to see a need to expand incentives to include incentives for installing Level 2 chargers at home, where the majority of EV charging already takes place.

Time of Use (TOU) Rates

Utah Clean Energy believes that when appropriately designed, TOU rates represent a valuable tool for encouraging efficient electricity usage among utility customers. TOU rates should encourage overall electricity conservation, shift energy consumption to times that are most beneficial for the grid, and ensure simplicity and fairness for both high and low use residential energy users. As part of the stakeholder group that helped shape Rocky Mountain Power’s TOU pilot, we proposed a tiered rate for TOU Rate Option 2, which was supported by the Division of Public Utilities and the Office of Consumer Services, but was ultimately not approved by the Commission. A tiered rate structure for EV owners is important to send price signals that encourage customers to conserve energy at all times of the day rather than just shifting electricity usage to off-peak times. Furthermore, the very low $0.03 off-peak rate approved for the TOU Rate Option 2 may actually result in wasteful energy usage during off-peak hours. While the Commission acknowledged the validity of our proposal to introduce a tiered rate, they ultimately approved the flat TOU rate proposed by the utility based on the rationale that a tiered rate would add complexity and may make it more difficult to discern customer sensitivity to pricing signals.

For more information on Utah Clean Energy’s work on EV incentive program, see the full docket here. If you are interested in learning more or enrolling in the TOU Pilot program, you can do so on Rocky Mountain Power’s website here.