Variable Utility Rate Plans for Electric Vehicle Drivers Will Have Little Impact, According to Pike Research

Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:10am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

http://pdf.reuters.com/htmlnews/8knews.asp?i=43059c3bf0e37541&u=urn:newsml:reuters.com:20130226:nBw265081a

BOULDER, Colo.--(Business Wire)--
For electric utility companies, the increasing market adoption of plug-in
electric vehicles (PEVs) represents both a significant business opportunity and
a series of challenges. Many observers have suggested that variable rate plans
specific to PEV owners could be a lucrative business model for utilities.
According to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant`s Energy
Practice, however, data suggests that such plans may have little impact because
the difference in price to the consumer may not justify the effort and risk
associated with creating a new rate program for electric vehicle (EV) drivers. 

"Plug-in electric vehicles are especially promising for utilities considering
the tendency of electric vehicle owners to charge at night during off-peak
hours, thus using capacity that is currently underutilized," says research
director John Gartner. "But specific rates for charging electric vehicles are
unlikely to greatly influence consumer charging habits, especially when variable
time-of-use plans are already in place." 

The growth of the PEV market brings a complex set of other challenges, as well,
according to the report. Peak demand will spike if and when clusters of electric
vehicles plug in at the same time. If their batteries are depleted, plug-in
hybrid vehicle owners are likely to charge regardless of peak pricing because in
most areas, electricity as a fuel will always be cheaper than gasoline. The
vehicles also create a need for utilities to engage with a new set of previously
unfamiliar stakeholders, including carmakers, dealers, fleet managers and
passionate EV owner groups. Most importantly, PEVs create a set of unknowns
about electricity consumption and infrastructure impacts for utilities, in
addition to a temptation to respond to anticipated problems that do not
necessarily pose actual risks to the grid or to a utility`s business process. 

The report, "Best Practices for Utilities to Prepare for Electric Vehicles",
includes recommendations based on data collected thus far on PEV power
consumption, and highlights the lessons learned from many of the leading
utilities that have been involved in providing electricity for vehicle charging.
Based on these findings, the brief provides best practice recommendations to
enhance customer service in engaging with consumers. Also included are
guidelines for interacting with regional EV groups, PEV dealers, and local
officials, to enable utilities to create a positive experience for PEV owners
while receiving the maximum benefit from this new revenue source. An Executive
Summary of the report is available for free download on the Pike Research
website. 

About Pike Research

Pike Research, which joined Navigant`s global Energy Practice on July 1, 2012,
provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The team`s
research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary
research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to
provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Utilities, Smart
Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. Additional
information about Pike Research can be found at www.navigant.com/pikeresearch. 

About Navigant

Navigant (NYSE: NCI) is a specialized, global expert services firm dedicated to
assisting clients in creating and protecting value in the face of critical
business risks and opportunities. Through senior level engagement with clients,
Navigant professionals combine technical expertise in Disputes and
Investigations, Economics, Financial Advisory and Management Consulting, with
business pragmatism in the highly regulated Construction, Energy, Financial
Services and Healthcare industries to support clients in addressing their most
critical business needs. More information about Navigant can be found at
www.navigant.com. 

* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, ""Best
Practices for Utilities to Prepare for Electric Vehicles"," is a summary and
reflects Pike Research`s current expectations based on market data and trend
analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and
actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release
or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of
the assumptions underlying the report`s conclusions and the methodologies used
to create the report. Neither Pike Research nor Navigant undertakes any
obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or
the report.

Pike Research
Richard Martin, +1-303-997-7609
richard.martin@navigant.com
or
Laverne Murach, +1-202-481-7336
laverne.murach@navigant.com



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