TID approves discount for electric car owners

Bee Staff ReportsApril 15, 2014 

Owners of plug-in electric cars within the Turlock Irrigation District will be able to get cheaper power for charging them during certain hours.

The district board voted 5-0 Tuesday morning to let these customers request “time-of-use” billing, which rewards energy use outside the peak demand period of noon to 9 p.m. on weekdays. They are expected to save about 5 percent on their overall monthly bills by not charging when wholesale power prices tend to be higher.

The rate will be in effect for three years so the district can see how it affects consumption patterns.

This is the first time that TID has allowed time-of-use billing for residential customers. Commercial, industrial and agricultural users already have the option.

A TID staff report said at least 37 qualifying electric cars have been sold to residents within TID. The district serves about 98,000 power customers in an area from south Modesto to north Merced County and from the lower Sierra Nevada foothills to the hills west of Patterson.

Plug-in electric cars get their power from the grid, unlike hybrids, which rely on a gasoline engine to charge the battery. The average charging time for plug-ins is eight hours, the staff said.

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