Burbank Water and Power’s (BWP) citywide Smart Grid initiative in Burbank will allow the city and its residential customers to take advantage of evolving technology and innovations in water and energy. One of these innovations is now coming to fruition through the introduction of an Early Adopter Time of Use Billing option for Electric Vehicle (EV) Owners.
As gasoline prices remain well above $4.00 per gallon, Burbank residents now have an alternative to gas prices at the pump. “EV owners in Burbank have been asking for a Time-of-Use (TOU) rate because they want to maximize their savings and charge their EV when electricity prices are at their lowest” says Joanne Fletcher, BWP Assistant General Manager. “With Burbank’s enhanced smart infrastructure, we can now offer this money saving opportunity.”
The Early Adopter TOU price reflects the fact that the cost to provide electricity changes throughout the day. When demand is low, less expensive sources of electricity are used. When demand rises, more expensive forms of electricity production are called upon, making prices higher. The Early Adopter TOU offers prices as low as eight cents per kilo-Watt hour (kWh) for electricity used during the evening after 11 pm, perfect for electric vehicle owners looking to charge their vehicles while they sleep and be ready to hit the road in the morning.
BWP’s standard residential electric rate is based on a three tier system where the price per kWh increases the more electricity is used. The tiers start at 11 cents for the first 250, 15 cents for the next 250, and 17 cents per kWh for electricity used beyond 500 kWh.
Nissan indicates that their LEAF EV takes 25 kWh to fully charge and drive 73 miles. At eight cents per kWh, this translates to $2.00 to charge the LEAF or about 2.7 cents per mile. Comparatively, a consumer with a gasoline powered vehicle paying $4.25 per gallon and getting 30 miles per gallon would pay $0.14 cents per mile, more than five times the EV cost to use electricity.
EV ‘range anxiety’ is another important issue BWP is addressing. “We heard from EV owners that more public chargers are needed to secure public confidence in a state where many drivers commute long distances for work and recreation.’” says BWP General Manager Ron Davis. In December 2011 BWP unveiled 11 electric vehicle charging stations in public locations throughout Burbank. “We hope these chargers will send an important signal to our community and surrounding areas: Buy an EV, drive it to and inside Burbank, and don’t worry about running out of electric charge in our city.” adds Mr. Davis.
The EV charging stations, manufactured by Coulomb Technologies and operated through the ChargePoint America Network, feature the latest technology, such as text or email notifications to the driver when charging is complete. The ChargePoint America Network, which includes the 11 Burbank charging units, makes plug-in electric vehicle use more convenient for drivers. Both on-line and through a mobile phone application, EV drivers can locate and, in some cases, reserve available public charging stations, track energy usage and greenhouse gas savings, and view account history.
Information on Burbank’s public charging stations and the Early Adopter TOU Billing option are available on BWP’s website, BurbankWaterandPower.com.