news October 11, 2021

Learn From Members’ Electric Vehicle Rate Design Projects

CFC recently completed work on a third case study covering the design process and implementation of member-centric electric vehicle (EV) programs. The studies highlight three different approaches to implementing dynamic pricing to support current and future member EV adoption and various levels of home charging.

“Members are beginning to bring us into the fold earlier in the process to collaboratively develop and provide feedback on EV home program policy and technology considerations,” CFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Jason Strong said. “Early evaluation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) data is critical to ensure a robust analysis and accurate development of rates that align with anticipated outcomes. It is important to determine—sooner than later—if AMI meter data is sufficient enough to draw conclusions.”

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, Strong explained that a traditional time-of-use (TOU) rate utilizing existing metering and charging capabilities (Level 1) may not be as effective as expected and miss the mark on what residential members are looking for from their cooperative and in an EV program.

CFC noted the key questions they are hearing from members during rate design and EV program projects:

  •  Is the cooperative’s AMI meter data sufficient to inform program and rate decisions?
  • How will technology decisions affect the type of available rate design options?
  • What is the best way to get residential customer feedback on EV program expectations?
  • How will new residential or commercial installations of Level 2 charging affect rate design decisions and EV program mechanics?

Rate Design Case Studies Are Now Available for CFC Members

Three rate design case studies that answer these questions are now available for CFC members to download and review from the CFC Industry Insights page on the CFC Member Website.

Boone Electric Cooperative (BEC)

Boone Electric Cooperative (BEC) in Missouri: Following a CFC facilitated strategic planning session in 2019, the cooperative and CFC began to explore new TOU rate options in 2020. BEC wanted to create a “win-win” proposition for the members and the cooperative. Time-varying rates can help distribution cooperatives shift load, thereby saving money by reducing power supply costs and other expenses related to peak loads, such as reduced run-time for peaking generation plants.

In response, and aligned to BEC’s specific characteristics, CFC created a new, three-period TOU rate that offers potentially lower energy bills to BEC’s members, while also cutting costs for the cooperative by creating an incentive for members to shift more demand to off-peak periods. CFC’s analysis included 12 months of AMI data, market research and survey data, and in-depth analysis of BEC’s system costs to develop the TOU rates. BEC’s new “EVolve” rate was rolled out to residential members in August 2021.

Download the BEC case study to learn more about the rate design process, details of the EVolve rate option and how the cooperative implemented the new rate.

Cobb Electric Membership Corporation

Cobb Electric Membership Corporation in Georgia: CFC worked with Cobb EMC to develop an overarching set of rate policy goals and establish a three-year rate strategy. The policy goals included expanding residential consumer choice regarding rates, improving fixed-cost recovery for the cooperative and decreasing the magnitude of any rate-related cross-subsidies of customer classes.

CFC leveraged hourly AMI data for a baseline cost-of-service study in 2018, resulting in Cobb’s Lifestyle Rate program. A follow-up study in 2020 indicated that the Lifestyle Rates are aligning cost incurrence with cost recovery. It also confirmed members are making choices aligned with the intended outcome of the program and that subsidies between rate classes decreased. Among the several choices of Lifestyle Rate options is the NiteFlex rate—a new TOU rate option for residential members who want to save money by adjusting when they use energy, including EV owners.

Download the Cobb EMC case study to learn more about the Lifestyle Rates and how members are utilizing the new programs.

Roanoke Electric Membership Corporation

Roanoke Electric Membership Corporation in North Carolina: The process of implementing the EV subscription rate began in 2019 when CFC worked with Roanoke EMC to analyze the cooperative’s EV goals and put together an overall EV strategy. This included developing an EV incentive program that focused initially on residential at-home charging.

To develop the subscription rate, CFC leveraged detailed AMI usage and billing data to develop system and residential load profiles. This information allowed CFC to determine the cooperative’s peak usage compared with that of their G&T provider. CFC then used AMI to establish peak and off-peak pricing hours for the subscription EV rate.

Download the Roanoke EMC case study to learn more about the process to develop the EV subscription rate and how it was implemented.

EV Programs Will Need to Evolve to Meet Changing Member Expectations

“EV programs and accompanying rate designs will need to evolve over time as EV adoption increases,” Strong said. “As market share of EVs increases on a system, so does the cost of system upgrades. TOU rates can—in the short term—shift loads to lower-cost periods and during times that the system is not currently heavily utilized.” However, in situations where there are no—or inadequate—time-varying price signals from the power supply, a TOU rate may not be as effective. CFC can work with you to determine the best EV pricing strategies unique to your cooperative.

As more EVs are sold and charged at home, the Regulatory Affairs team anticipates new system peaks outside of historically traditional peak periods. Strong added, “At some point—in the not too distant future—a new peak period will be created that will require system upgrades to support the additional EV load.” The key question then, is how these additional system costs should be shared among member-customers.