Chugach Electric offers new EV fast-charging rate
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) approved Chugach’s proposed tariff for an electric vehicle (EV) Direct Current (DC) fast charging rate. The approved rate removes the demand charge barrier to DC fast chargers which should encourage the construction of DC fast charging stations and the use of electric vehicles by Chugach members.
With input from Chugach members and EV owners, Chugach filed the DC fast charging tariff in January to help alleviate concerns from potential business owners considering installing DC fast charging stations. Due to the high electric demand when vehicles are charging, and the relatively infrequent use of the chargers during this early stage of EV adoption, the effective per kWh charge under the standard large general service rate structure would be extremely high, which is a major deterrent to potential station owners from building charging stations. The new rate structure removes this demand charge barrier. Additionally, EV charging station owners were previously unable to charge users for the electricity, and instead had to charge based on the duration of the charging or other measures.
With the recent tariff approval earlier this month, EV charging station owners can now charge users for the electricity dispensed to “fuel” their vehicles, and they also have the comfort of knowing that if they install a DC fast charger at their location, it will be billed similar to a residential rate and, in the vast majority of cases, will only have an energy charge without a demand charge.
The timing of the approved rate is important as there will be at least two DC fast chargers installed by year-end in the Chugach service area, made possible by Alaska Energy Authority’s (AEA) funding of an interconnected EV fast-charging network along the highways and ferry terminals in the Railbelt. AEA utilized Volkswagen Trust funds and State of Alaska Energy Program funds to build out DC fast charging infrastructure from Homer to Healy. In total, 15 fast chargers and eight Level 2 chargers at nine charging stations will be installed. Additionally, the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes millions of dollars to build out EV charging in Alaska in the next five years.
Chugach supports the adoption of electric vehicles given they provide several benefits including reducing transportation carbon emissions, lower “fuel” costs for EV users not using liquid fuels, and applying downward pressure on electric rates as fixed costs are spread among more users.
To aid in the promotion of electric vehicles, Chugach offers several EV related incentives programs to help speed the transition to electric transportation. In addition to its Residential and Level 2 Commercial EV charging incentives, Chugach now offers a DC fast charging incentive program that supports the new rate.