Electric vehicle recharging: Is the energy too cheap to meter?

Michael Giberson

Competitive retail power company NRG plans to offer an “all you can eat” electric vehicle recharging plan in Houston early next year, expanding the offer to the Dallas area a little later.  Likely too few electric vehicles will show up in Houston in the next year or so to make much of a dent in the retail power market, but in general electric vehicles should tend to recharge off-peak, improving the retailers power factor, and possibly tending to reduce average power costs a little.  I assume they’ve done the analysis and understand what they are doing.

Perhaps it is a tool to attract high-income consumers to NRG’s retail power unit – Reliant Energy – for home electric service? Seems a little crazy to me, but that is one of the great things about the competitive Texas retail power system: retailers can do crazy things, and no public utility commission has to approve, and no captive ratepayer can be stuck with the bill.  Competition works in mysterious ways.


4 thoughts on “Electric vehicle recharging: Is the energy too cheap to meter?

  1. Nissan Leaf battery capacity is 24 kWh. A complete full charge every single day in a 30 day month would be 720 kWh/mo. Average consumption/customer is likely to be less than 1/2 of that. I believe they have done the analysis and understand what they are doing.

  2. My guess is that it’s a PR stunt… it won’t cost much because there are so few EVs, but it is good public relations to be supporting the electric vehicle market.

  3. Based on kudos’ numbers and the proposed $60-80 per month charge for the plan, it might well be a real profit center, especially if most of the recharging is done at home at night.

    If kudos is correct, or even close, they are looking at revenues of ~$0.15-0.20 per kWh for predominantly off-peak power. Not bad!

  4. This NRG deal aside, let’s make no mistake about the need to fix the Texas deregulation law. The simple fact is that ratepayers ARE getting stuck with higher-than-necessary bills under this system. Texans have gone from enjoying rates below the national average for many years before deregulation, to rates consistently above the national average now. Texans now pay more for electricity than residents living in adjoining regulated states — even states that use similar fuels for their generation plants like Louisiana and Oklahoma. Captive ratepayers not getting stuck with the bill? How do you figure when even the LOWEST fixed-rate deals under deregulation often fail to compare favorably with AVERAGE rates in major Texas cities outside retail deregulation.

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