IX. Engage Your Local Utilities
Local utilities are essential partners - after all, they provide the electricity. Because of their role, engaging with your local utilities should be a first step. Local utilities can be partners in increasing EV adoption rates. They can offer EV-friendly rates where it is cheaper to charge an EV at low-use times of the day and can install charging infrastructure through pilot programs. Additionally, municipalities can partner with local utilities to create education and outreach events and programs. Cities and counties that have municipal utilities have a unique opportunity to work closely with their electricity provider to develop pilot programs and provide strategic direction.
A. EV Charging Infrastructure
The local utility will be in a good position to help draft EV-ready policies and design incentives. Also, the utility needs to know where you are installing the charging stations so that it can take early action to ensure that its distribution system is ready to deliver the power. The utility may have ideas on where to direct that infrastructure, may be willing to install it for free for certain fleet uses, or may have solar projects in the works that would be easily paired with an EV charger. Finally, the utility may have experience with different EV chargers or installers that would suggest criteria for offering an expedited permit, and when more cautious scrutiny may be needed.
B. Utility Incentives
Some utility companies offer incentives for either purchasing the charging equipment or an electric vehicle.
West Palm Beach-FPL Electric School Buses | Florida Power and Light and West Palm Beach partnered on Florida’s first electric school buses. The pilot will explore vehicle to grid technology using the bus batteries and provide data that will inform future applications.
C. Utility EV-Friendly Rates
Many utilities offer rates that encourage EV drivers to charge during the time of day when the utility has surplus energy. This does several things. It helps the utility to keep a consistent outflow of energy without having to turn on additional generation. It benefits all utility users this way by selling more energy but in a more consistent pattern. It benefits EV drivers because they are charging their EV when rates are lower.
D. Utility EV Charger Programs
Utility programs focus on supporting the market through initiatives such as rate design, utility-owned charging infrastructure, and rebates to customers for the installation of non-utility-owned chargers.