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How electric vehicles could cut your power bill, even if you don’t drive

The surging popularity of electric vehicles on American roads could actually lower power bills for all electric consumers, even those who don’t own cars, a new CUB study found.

The key is for policymakers to adopt key measures necessary to manage how EVs get charged.

The study, Charging Ahead: Deriving Value from Electric Vehicles For All Electricity Customers, is possibly the nation’s first analysis by a consumer watchdog group into how EVs will impact electric customers and the power grid. (Read a summary of the study here.)

“To ensure that we seize this opportunity for savings, the public can’t afford for their policy makers to wait,” said David Kolata, Executive Director of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB). “Action is needed now to set policies that help EV owners charge their cars in a way that benefits everyone.”

Specifically, the report advocates for automatically enrolling EV owners in a “Time of Use” (TOU) pricing program.

While electricity is most often billed under a fixed rate that rarely changes, dynamic prices fluctuate over the course of the day as the total volume of demand on the system swells and dips.

By funneling EV owners into dynamic plans on an opt-out basis, utilities can ensure the grid digests added demand from EVs without necessitating new expenditures on increased generation capacity or enhanced transmission and distribution infrastructure. EV owners, meanwhile, would benefit from electricity priced far lower than the regular fixed rate.