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Discussion Starter #1
Time of Use (TOU) rates are usually significantly lower per KWH than normal day or peak rates. For most energy companies, energy is too abundant at night and it gets thrown away (burned up as heat). Coal, nuclear, and even hydroelectric power plants can only be idled so much. They continue to produce more power than is needed at night. Power companies should be incentivizing PHEV owners to use energy at night by creating TOU pricing. It is a win-win situation for the electric company and the PHEV owner.

This pricing schedule may require changing to smart meters which can also do net metering for solar panels. Another option is that a second meter be installed to be used only for certain purposes (such as charging the PHEV at night). This is a more expensive option since there may be a separate utility charge (perhaps $10/month) for each meter in the house.

The basic question is how to light a fire under the utility companies to get them to add a TOU billing option. Limited attempts thus far have had little effect.

Has anyone encountered this issue before and found a strategy to induce electric companies to introduce TOU billing rates?
 

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Changing billing rates is a pretty big deal because it has to be approved by the government oversight board, so it gets political. It can raise questions like why are the majority of people subsidizing cheap rates for EV owners? Also, an electric company is only going to request that if it makes economic sense for them, not just because it might help a small fraction of its captive customers. They may generally be in favor of shifting usage to off peak times, but giving up the peak revenue is not something they would welcome.

Also be aware that with a TOU plan, your night rate might cut in half, but your day rate might also double, which can end up making it more expensive for you in total.
 

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Changing billing rates is a pretty big deal because it has to be approved by the government oversight board, so it gets political. It can raise questions like why are the majority of people subsidizing cheap rates for EV owners? Also, an electric company is only going to request that if it makes economic sense for them, not just because it might help a small fraction of its captive customers. They may generally be in favor of shifting usage to off peak times, but giving up the peak revenue is not something they would welcome.

Also be aware that with a TOU plan, your night rate might cut in half, but your day rate might also double, which can end up making it more expensive for you in total.
It's not quite as simple as that. The utility has to be able to provide all the requested amperage, even at the very peak usage of hot summer days. That peak power is very expensive. The utility could build more power plants to meet peak demand, which of course are expensive, and they would be idle a lot. Or they could incentivize customers to avoid using power during peak times. Of course that also costs money (in the form of lower rates during the off-peak period) but as I understand it, the economics often works out such that it actually makes more sense to set up TOU schedules than to build more power plants.

Here in Con-Ed territory, the utility came up with an innovative way to shift electric car charging to off-peak times without forcing customers to shift to a TOU plan. They give customers a device that plugs into the OBD port, which monitors charging and reports it to the utility via its own cellular connection. Customers get 10 cents/kwH credit for charging from midnight to 8 am, in addition to an extra $20 per month in the summer for avoiding charging entirely from 2 to 6 pm. Since rates here are just over 20 c/kWh, this is a very nice incentive to shift charging to the middle of the night. (The only drawback is that the credit comes in the form of gift cards for various retailers, not cash - but I buy enough stuff on Amazon that it's fine.)

What can you do to get utilities to implement programs like these? I don't know - but they won't be motivated to make critical decisions unless they have difficulty meeting peak demand. And if power is cheap because it's subsidized, there's also little motivation.
 

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Cut the cord, go solar?
 

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It's not quite as simple as that. The utility has to be able to provide all the requested amperage, even at the very peak usage of hot summer days. That peak power is very expensive. The utility could build more power plants to meet peak demand, which of course are expensive, and they would be idle a lot. Or they could incentivize customers to avoid using power during peak times. Of course that also costs money (in the form of lower rates during the off-peak period) but as I understand it, the economics often works out such that it actually makes more sense to set up TOU schedules than to build more power plants.

Here in Con-Ed territory, the utility came up with an innovative way to shift electric car charging to off-peak times without forcing customers to shift to a TOU plan. They give customers a device that plugs into the OBD port, which monitors charging and reports it to the utility via its own cellular connection. Customers get 10 cents/kwH credit for charging from midnight to 8 am, in addition to an extra $20 per month in the summer for avoiding charging entirely from 2 to 6 pm. Since rates here are just over 20 c/kWh, this is a very nice incentive to shift charging to the middle of the night. (The only drawback is that the credit comes in the form of gift cards for various retailers, not cash - but I buy enough stuff on Amazon that it's fine.)

What can you do to get utilities to implement programs like these? I don't know - but they won't be motivated to make critical decisions unless they have difficulty meeting peak demand. And if power is cheap because it's subsidized, there's also little motivation.
Yes, it makes economic sense for some utility companies to do this, and many have. However, many utility companies have not implemented these rates, probably because it does not yet make economic and political sense for them yet given their current capacity vs. peak demand situation. My point is that you are unlikely to induce a utility company into changing rates by asking or pressuring them. That step will be based on larger factors.
 

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I was thinking that most utilities already do offer TOU pricing. Our provider, Xcel does, and that is what we use. I have not bothered to do a detailed analysis, but I estimate it saves us around $20/month even though the daytime rate is higher than the standard 24 hour rate we previously had.

In addition to only charging the Volt at night, and anytime on weekends, we shifted a few other activities too. Now we only run our dishwasher during off peak hours, and the same for doing laundry. Our dryer is gas though so not a huge savings there.

Another item that helps us out is that one of us uses a CPAP machine. That is used only off peak and is listed at 80 watts. That's as much as 8-10 of our lights, which are mostly all led or cfl.

Going to a dedicated EV meter just sounded like too much hassle and initial expense with perhaps little or no additional savings.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's not quite as simple as that. The utility has to be able to provide all the requested amperage, even at the very peak usage of hot summer days. That peak power is very expensive. The utility could build more power plants to meet peak demand, which of course are expensive, and they would be idle a lot. Or they could incentivize customers to avoid using power during peak times. Of course that also costs money (in the form of lower rates during the off-peak period) but as I understand it, the economics often works out such that it actually makes more sense to set up TOU schedules than to build more power plants.
I agree. As a general rule, the top 10% of power generation capacity is only used 1% of the time. This represents an enormous waste of resources and most utilities are interested in "peak shaving" and "valley filling" (reducing peak usage on the "demand curve" and increasing nighttime or off-peak energy consumption). TOU pricing does both.
 

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There is no ‘off peak’ discount here.
But electric rate is $.08 kWh (With a base rate of $20 per month)

Solar would be nice- although certianly not as effective this far north. While it doesn’t rain much, there are quite a number of cloudy days.

I try to charge at night anyway- even though I don’t see a direct reduction- I figure if I help keep the peak usage down it may Help keep the rates lower.

Mark
 

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Have been on SCE's TOU plan for several years and it has reduced our electric bill approximately $30/mo. Volt charging, washer/dryer and dishwasher useage are done during off-peak hours (10PM-8AM).
 

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I sure hope it never happens here! - We have among the lowest electric rates in the country and TOU would certainly raise our daytime rate and that's when we need the most juice for air conditioning. The power we might use overnight to charge our car is very small potatos and even if nightime power was free, TOU would certainly raise our overall bill

Don
 

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Here in San Diego the local utility, SDG&E, has this TOU rate for EV users. In reading the rate notice keep in mind the electric rates here are insane, about 25 cents /KWH during the day and double that at in the late afternoon to midnight.

"EV-TOU-5, a plan for your home and electric vehicle: This new plan is the same as EV-TOU-2 but the Super Off-Peak rate is reduced to just 8¢ when you pay a Basic Monthly Service Fee of $16. Super Off-Peak hours are midnight to 6 am weekdays, and midnight to 2 pm on weekends and holidays."

In regards to solar, SDG&E does not like solar users. Net Metering 2 TOU rate for all new solar users really diminished the economic benefit of solar. Since solar power is generated during their off-peak period there is no longer a one for one offset for excess solar power pushed to the grid against power pulled from the grid. Charges are based on the cost of power at the time it was generated, and so called non impassable charges that are added to the raw electricity costs cannot be offset. As near as I can figure, it means a solar user would have to generate about 3 KWHs during the day to offset 1 KWH pulled off the grid at night. I got around this by installing a Tesla Powerwall 2. So instead of pushing excess power to the grid so I can get screwed at night, the excess power goes into the powerwall and this supplies power to the house saving me 50 cents/ KWH.
 

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I can't even envision living in CA due to the cost of living. I'm surprised how many people remain there instead of going elsewhere in the country where cost of living is a lot more reasonable.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I sure hope it never happens here! - We have among the lowest electric rates in the country and TOU would certainly raise our daytime rate and that's when we need the most juice for air conditioning. The power we might use overnight to charge our car is very small potatoes and even if nighttime power was free, TOU would certainly raise our overall bill </B>

Don
TOU would not raise your power bill.

As stated before, when you throw away a valuable resource (nighttime energy) because you produce too much (very common) and have no way to store it, you are wasting it and this raises rates for all customers. Selling a "free" resource even at a discounted 80% the cost of daytime energy is free money for the utility company.

If the grid is stressed in the daytime and new generation capacity (peaking generators) need to be added to the grid (many of which burn expensive fossil fuels), this also raises energy rates. TOU will likely make your energy costs cheaper or at the very least keep them the same while encouraging efficient use of nighttime energy and the purchase of more PHEVs.
 

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TOU would not raise your power bill.
I can pretty much guarantee you that if and when TOU is ever implemented here, the current 11 cent daytime rate will be the first thing to go - The night time 'savings' would be based on a higher daytime rate

The poster who said he gets an 8 cent rate at night with a $16 per month service charge is paying more at night than we do during the day - I understand his utility has much higher day charges than ours, but I've read of several other places where TOU has been implemented and can't recall of a single instance where the original daytime rate was maintained - A change in policy is always accompanied by a new rate schedule

I'm super happy paying 11 cents, day and night

Don
 

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TOU would not raise your power bill.
It would for me, and by quite a lot. My utility offers TOU rates, but they are terrible. About $.04 cheaper at night and $.08 more during the day.
I calculated that I would need to use nearly 90% of my electricity in off peak hours to break even. Oh btw, on-peak goes until 9pm. No way that is happening.

As for how you change it, the only way is to get involved in politics. If your utility has an elected board of directors, get yourself and some friends elected.
That's what happened in Arizona when net metering was killed. Solar advocates got elected to the board, and they spurred change from within.
 

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Our electric here is city provided and we just shifted everyone to a Time Of Day metering system. It has taken six years to get this in place as there was much resistance to change. They did need a few years to get everyone over to a "smart meter" in all households first.
Before the shift, we were at $0.11 per KWh at all times with an additional $0.02 added per KWh in the summer months (June-Sep).
The new plan has off peak rates of $0.07 and on peak rates of $0.21 per KWh. Peak in the summer months are from 2pm to 7 pm and 5pm to 9 pm the rest of the year.
They are pitching this as no change to monthly costs as they have been monitoring usage for a year. They are saying it is an opportunity to reduce your bill by limiting usage of high power consuming devices to off peak times. They have deals offered on Smart thermostats to adjust AC usage and even though they do not call out Electric Vehicles directly, charging off peak will definitely help us out.
This just started Oct 1, so I can't tell yet how this will work on the cost front, but I do know that my ~300 KWh I put in my Volt monthly will be off peak.
I think it would be best to have your utility pitch it to their customers as an opportunity to cut your electric bill by changing your habits and not just focus on the EV folks.
 
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