Two utilities urge electric car charging conservation – but not Green Mountain Power

Thanks to its extensive network of home storage batteries, Green Mountain Power hasn’t urged customers to conserve power during this summer’s lengthy heat wave. GMP photo

By Guy Page

During the weeks-long heat wave, two of Vermont’s Big Three electricity utilities have urged customers to not charge electric cars during peak-demand evening hours. But the state’s biggest utility hasn’t made that controversial “ask” and is instead using the heatwave to highlight its battery storage system.

The concern about electric car chargeability began July 19, when Vermont Electric Co-op – the state’s #2 utility as measured by power sales and customers – advised that “members who have electric vehicles can have a large impact by not charging during these [5-10 PM] hours.”

Some Vermonters noted then that the Legislature’s planned electrification of transportation and home heat will leave Vermont with an inadequate supply of electricity. If they’re being asked to not charge their cars during heat waves now, what restrictions will be in place after demand has skyrocketed due to electrification and the looming ban by 2035 on Vermont sales of new gas-powered vehicles?

Not to worry, VEC spokesperson Andrea Cohen said. 

“When we are expecting a peak event we outreach to members to encourage them to delay or reschedule usage that is time flexible,” Cohen explained. “We request this so that our member-owners can save money by avoiding higher cost power. We are not concerned about our ability to deliver power during these times.”  

But will the Co-op be able to supply the increased demand of the future? 

“As to our ability to meet the challenge of increased electrical demand as people transition away from fossil fuels to electricity….the short story is improvements in load management (avoiding peaks) will be key to avoiding problems with future load growth,” Cohen said.  

“Rate design and technology improvements will all be necessary to ensure success. We have some good programs under development,” she added. 

Avoid charging electric vehicles until after 7:00pm (or until 10 pm if you are on BED’s special off-peak charging rate); and Delay other discretionary electric consumption until after 7 pm.

#3 utility Burlington Electric Department last week urged ratepayers to “Defeat The Peak” by turning off unnecessary appliances, “avoid charging electric vehicles until after 7:00pm…. and delay other discretionary electric consumption until after 7 pm.”

By contrast, #1 utility Green Mountain Power issued no conservation alerts. Instead, it bragged on its large network of inhome batteries distributing power back into the grid during times of peak demand. 

GMP’s pioneering and growing network of home batteries helped reduce about $1.2 million in costs for customers while cutting power demand during the intense heat. By putting that stored energy back on the grid, GMP did not have to buy extra power from the regional grid during those peak energy times when it’s more expensive, which saves customers money,” a GMP statement said. “GMP customers were not asked to reduce power use during this time – they could use the energy they needed to stay comfortable and safe during the heat, without limitations.”

Categories: Energy

1 reply »

  1. Batteries are not Base Power, neither is Solar or Wind.

    Liberty is from God not man.

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