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Making the Most of Electric Vehicle Time-of-Use Rates

Time of use electric vehicle pricing carries a significantly higher rate during peak demand hours, but charging during off-peak hours can save you money.

Historically, Unitil customers have paid a flat-rate per-kilowatt hour for electricity. The introduction of time-of-use rates, by contrast, provides customers with more control over their energy costs, with tiered rates that encourage moving the bulk of their electricity use to off-peak hours when rates are at their lowest. For example, EV owners who switch to Time-of-Use and charge their vehicle overnight could see significant savings.

Time of Use (TOU) rates were introduced to Unitil’s New Hampshire electric customers in July of 2022. A Whole House TOU rate is available to residential customers, while an Electric Vehicle (EV) TOU rate is available to residential and commercial electric vehicle owners in the state.

Time-of-use rates are broken up into three pricing tiers: mid-peak, on-peak, and off-peak. Mid-peak hours are Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. with pricing that is approximately the same as the standard rate. On-peak hours are Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., during which pricing is about three times the standard rate. Off-peak hours are weekdays between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., plus all weekend and holiday hours. Pricing for off-peak hours is approximately 30% less than the standard rate.

In 2020, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,715 kilowatt hours (kWh), an average of about 893 kWh per month. (Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration)

One of the many benefits to owning an electric vehicle is significantly reduced fuel costs compared to a traditional gas-powered vehicle. Exact savings vary by state, type of vehicle, and how and where the vehicle is charged, but a 2020 Consumer Reports study found that EV owners will spend up to 60% less on fuel per year.

With the EV Time-of-Use rate, EV owners have the opportunity to amplify their fuel savings even further by charging their vehicle during off-peak hours when TOU rates are at their lowest. Fortunately, most electric vehicles and level 2 chargers provide the option to schedule charging to begin and end at certain times, making it easy to ensure charging occurs during off-peak hours.

While many EV owners opt to install a level 2 charger at their home, no special charging equipment is required to sign up for the EV time-of-use rate. Click here to learn more about EV charging options.

Because the time-of-use rates are the same for whole-house and EV customers, there’s no need to install a second meter if you are also opting in to the whole-house time-of-use program. However, if you prefer to keep your home service on the standard rate plan, a separate electric meter is required to participate in the EV TOU rate. In this case, Unitil will install a dedicated meter which will carry a nominal monthly fee and you will need to hire an electrician to install an additional meter socket to house the new meter.

Customers who opt-in to Unitil’s EV time-of-use rate program commit to a 12-month term, after which they are free to switch back to standard pricing if they wish.

Switching to a time-of-use rate structure is completely optional, and we encourage customers to assess their current usage to determine whether it’s a good fit before opting in to the program. Unitil recently launched a rate comparison calculator to help customers compare rates and see their estimated future costs.

Electric Vehicle Time of Use Key Takeaways

  • The meter itself carries a nominal monthly charge, and you’re responsible for the cost of the electrical work to install an additional meter socket.
  • Nine-to-fivers who work Monday through Friday are likely good candidates for the EV time-of-use rates, as they probably already charge their EV overnight.
  • New Hampshire residential electric customers may opt-in to either whole-house or EV time-of-use billing.