In December, North Carolina-based Roanoke Electric Cooperative signed up its first member to a new pilot program featuring an innovative electric vehicle (EV) rate designed by CFC. Roanoke Electric’s residential EV pilot program features a flat-fee, subscription-based pricing model—one of the first uses of this model in the electric cooperative network.

Serving more than 14,500 members in the northeastern corridor of North Carolina, Roanoke Electric asked CFC to help design an EV program to include a specialty rate for EV charging.

“We wanted to encourage an EV market in northeastern North Carolina and offer our member-owners a path toward easier adoption of this emerging technology,” Roanoke Electric Chief Operating Officer Marshall Cherry said. “Additionally, having more members incentivized to charge their EVs off-peak could positively impact our wholesale power costs.”

CFC’s Regulatory Affairs team worked with Roanoke Electric to analyze the cooperative’s EV goals and put together an overall EV strategy and an EV incentive program that focuses initially on residential at-home charging. CFC facilitated discussions with national partner SEDC to understand billing capabilities of a new pricing structure and also with the technology vendor, ChargePoint, to understand metering capabilities and load management controls.

CFC also analyzed various rate options, including a traditional time-of-use (TOU) rate. But CFC’s analysis showed that a TOU rate was not effective nor cost-efficient for Roanoke Electric’s system and for their EV strategy. Upon further evaluation and discussion with the cooperative, CFC developed an alternative approach that features an EV subscription rate—a model that leaves the cooperative in control of the energy supply while offering members a discount on the standard residential rate for charging their EVs.

CFC developed several pricing options for the subscription rate, and Roanoke Electric selected a simplified, single-tier option that allows members to pay a flat monthly fee to charge their EVs during off-peak periods, up to a certain amount of kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Through this new EV program, Roanoke Electric owns the meter-grade level 2 charger and is able to actively manage the EV load, while encouraging member charging at off-peak times—away from summer afternoon/evening peaks and winter morning peaks.

Under the new residential EV subscription rate, participants pay a flat fee of $50 per month for up to 450 kWh of electricity supplied during off-peak hours. According to Roanoke Electric, this rate is ideal for EV owners who charge their vehicles overnight and who drive 50 miles or less each day.

EV subscription rate participants also receive a 240-volt level 2 charging station installed at their home at no cost. The charging station is maintained and owned by the cooperative.

Participants also agree to permit the cooperative to curtail their EV charger’s load when necessary during peak hours.

Although CFC’s analysis and development of the EV program was able to use existing system cost data and did not require a new cost-of-service study, it relied heavily on advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) data.

“The development of this EV rate could not have been accomplished without detailed AMI usage and billing data,” CFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Jason Strong said.

CFC Regulatory Affairs Rate Analyst Jason Fayorsey added, “We used AMI data to develop system and residential load profiles to determine Roanoke Electric’s peak usage versus their generation and transmission’s (G&T)—North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation—peak times and also matched cost to these periods. We then used AMI to establish peak and off-peak pricing hours for the subscription EV rate.”

Roanoke Electric recently signed up the first member participant to its EV pilot program, which runs through December 2022.

“The member-owner purchased their vehicle in late December, and we have spent January 2021 installing the charger, setting up the rate and programming load control,” Cherry said.

The use of EVs has been expanding in Roanoke Electric’s area, and the cooperative has been actively supporting the technology as a potential way to increase load and as a means of achieving its environmental stewardship goals.

“Our recent promotional activities and roll-out of our pilot program with the new EV rate has definitely stimulated inquiries from member-owners and created more conversations about EVs,” Cherry said. “We appreciate all the work CFC did in helping us put this program together.”

Visit the Solutions website for the unabridged article with additional details about the subscription rate and CFC’s Regulatory Affairs team.