Virginia Electric and Power (Dominion Energy Virginia) on Dec. 17 filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission its sixth and final annual report on its electric vehicle (EV) Pilot Program.
As noted in the filing, Dominion in January 2011 filed an application with the commission requesting approval for two experimental and voluntary EV rate options, which were designated Rate Schedules 1EV and EV – collectively referred to as the company’s EV rate options – as well as various related technology, customer interface, and data collection as part of a structured comprehensive EV Pilot Program in the company’s Virginia service territory.
The commission in July 2011 issued an order authorizing the company to implement its EV Pilot Program, subject to certain terms and conditions.
The company added that rate schedules for the EV Pilot Program were eligible for customers to take service beginning Oct. 3, 2011. The company said that its EV rate options were extended in 2013 with commission approval to remain open for customer enrollment through Dec. 1, 2015, and be in effect, on an experimental basis, until Nov. 30, 2016.
The company noted that in October 2015, it filed a petition asking for commission approval to further extend EV Pilot Program enrollment through Sept. 1, 2016, and implementation through Nov. 30, 2018, at no additional incremental cost. The company also requested to file its 2016 annual report with an evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) report.
The company added that the commission approved the company’s extension and reporting requests in January 2016. Customers who enrolled in one of those experimental rate options were required to participate in the pilot for a one-year term, and could then voluntarily continue at their option until the pilot ends or withdraw from the pilot after the one-year requirement is met. Dominion also noted that the commission approved the company’s request to allow pilot participants to remain on the EV rate options after pilot conclusion on Nov. 30, 2018, subject to certain terms and conditions.
The objective of the pilot was to offer EV charging rate options that are designed to shift time-of-use (TOU) of electricity away from peak periods, the company said, adding that the EV rate options were designed as TOU or time-differentiated pricing that allow customers to charge their EVs during off-peak hours – typically overnight – in exchange for reduced electricity prices.
The company said that its EV Pilot Program had a capped enrollment of up to 1,500 participants, consisting of up to 750 residential customers taking service under experimental Rate Schedule 1EV – residential service with EV charging – and up to 750 residential customers taking electric service under experimental Rate Schedule EV – residential EV charging. Participation in the pilot required that either an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meter or an interval data recorder (IDR) meter be installed at the customer’s location.
The company added that as of Nov. 30, the current participants for the Rate Schedule 1EV totaled 372, and 155 for the Rate Schedule EV.
The company also noted that its EV Pilot Program costs through Nov. 30 totaled about 94% of the $825,000 cost limit set by the commission, with the majority of dollars spent being for EM&V and customer communication efforts.
Dominion said that it continues to receive feedback from customers interested in learning more about EVs, as well as any EV offerings, and that it expects customer interest in electric transportation to continue to grow as the market for EVs further develops.
Discussing the EV market, the company said that as of July, there were 10,786 EVs in Virginia and 8,432 in the company’s service territory. This year’s data continues the upward trend from previous reports showing increasing customer support for EVs, the company said.
Dominion also said that it hired the energy consulting firm, DNV GL, to conduct the analytic evaluation of the EV Pilot Program – specifically, to address whether the EV pilot rate options affect charging patterns for the program participants. The data shows that participants from both rate options – compared to their respective comparison groups – are more likely to charge their EVs during the super off-peak period – 1 a.m., to 5 a.m. However, Dominion added, due to the small size of the comparison and EV only participant groups, DNV GL was not able to quantify the magnitude of the load shift attributable to the rate options or adjust for any biases to project to the greater population.
Other notable observations from DNV GL’s analysis include that during the summer season, the EV + Home participants use more electricity than the comparison group during the super off-peak period of 1 a.m., to 5 p.m., and the comparison group uses more electricity than the EV + Home participants during the on-peak times of 1 p.m., to 7 p.m.
Among other things, Dominion added that it continues to believe that the EV pilot was beneficial to customers and in furtherance of the public interest. Throughout the program, the company observed desired behaviors for participants and received positive feedback regarding the offering of alternative rate structures for EV owners.
The company added that while it is not proposing to make the EV pilot a permanent offering at this time, it remains committed to providing options to meet customer needs, while utilizing the information obtained during the pilot to evaluate options for EV drivers.
Dominion said that it continues to offer TOU rates to residential customers, adding that if customers select a TOU rate schedule, they will pay a lower rate when consuming energy, including charging EVs, during off peak hours.
The company also said that as part of its Grid Transformation Plan filing that it made with the commission, it requested approval to continue monitoring developments related to EVs and EV support; once developed, the company plans to submit EV-related proposal(s) in future filing(s) made with the commission.