HECO To Offer Electric Car Owners Discounted Rates

CT&T

Here's one more incentive to own an electric car in Hawaii: discounted electricity rates.

Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) will offer cheaper electricity rates to customers who charge electric vehicles at night during “off peak” hours, while charging above market-rates the rest of the time.

The electric utility filed a proposal Wednesday with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for a three-year pilot project beginning in October to set variable rates for electric car charging at homes and businesses.

HECO says the move is to “encourage early adoption of electric vehicles,” as well as help ensure that drivers don’t all plug in at the same time and overload the grid. Hawaii auto dealers welcomed the news.

“This is really an extraordinary announcement in that this is the beginning of getting customers comfortable with the whole concept of filling up your car in your garage,” said David Rolf, executive director of the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association. The trade group’s members include 60 new-car dealerships in Hawaii that represent 135 automaker franchises.

“To make electric vehicles a reality, it takes not only making the vehicles affordable, but also having the ability to charge fairly rapidly and at an incentivized price, as well as ubiquitous charging stations,” Rolf said.

The program would reward customers who charge their electric vehicles between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., when electricity usage is low. The program would also discourage charging during peak demand by imposing slightly higher rates. On Oahu, residential customers charging their electric vehicles would pay about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour less than normal rates. Meanwhile, customers charging cars during peak electricity hours would pay about 3 cents more per kilowatt-hour.

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