Sudbury Electric Vehicle society applauds idea to lower overnight rates

The president of the Sudbury chapter of the Electric Vehicle Society said lower overnight electricity rates would be helpful for those who charge electric cars.

Province has asked Ontario Energy Board for options

A charging handle is inserted into the port of a white electric car.
Charging an electric vehicle overnight in Ontario may cost less if the province moves forward with lowering overnight rates. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The president of the Sudbury chapter of the Electric Vehicle Society said lower overnight electricity rates would be helpful for those who charge electric cars.

On Wednesday, Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith asked the Ontario Energy Board to come up with options to implement a "new ultra-low overnight Time-of-Use electricity price plan."

"Introduction of a new ultra-low overnight price plan that would benefit shift workers and support EV adoption is our next step as we focus on helping electricity customers save money and take more control of their energy bills," Smith said.

The province also wants to hear back from residents about the overnight electricity price plan proposal.

Devin Arthur, the head of the Electric Vehicle Society in Sudbury, said many people who drive electric cars charge them overnight. 

"Just because it is easier to wake up every morning with a, quote, full tank of gas or full tank of electricity versus having to worry about plugging it in during the day," he said.

As for how long it takes to fully charge an electric vehicle, Arthur said that depends.

"So right now, if you're charging at the current off peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt hour, if you're charging a 60 kilowatt-hour battery, which is kind of around the medium or the medium that we're seeing these days with EVs, it's around just under five dollars for the full charge at home," he explained. 

"Whereas if you compare it to one of these ultra low off peak overnight rates you, I'll give the example of Electra. So they had two cents a kilowatt-hour. You're looking at just around $1.20. So I mean, there is significant savings."

A man wearing winter clothing standing in front of a Tesla fast charging system.
Devin Arthur is the president of the Sudbury chapter of the Electric Vehicle Society. (Erik White/CBC )

Arthur said it makes sense for electric vehicles owners to plug in overnight, something he said will likely happen more often if rates go down.

"Just because of the convenience factor but also because of the cost. You're not paying the on-peak rates which can be expensive if you're going to be charging daily," he said.

"So they already take advantage of the overnight options, but if they do introduce this ultra-low off-peak rate of course they're going to take advantage of that, because it's going to save you money at the end of the day."

Arthur said with gas prices going up, some drivers are looking for other options.

"Every time there's a big spike, we always get an influx of inquiries, people asking about what models are available, where they can buy them, where they can look at and test drive them," he said.

"And like I said, I don't think the price of gas is really going to go down too much anymore. It seems like it's just going to keep going up. So I suspect that people are just going to be more and more interested in how they can adopt any of these."

Wendy Watson, the director of communications with Greater Sudbury Utilities, said any incentive to help people save money on energy costs is welcome.

"Offering a lower rate at certain dayparts allows people to plan their use to their best advantage," she said.

"For instance, a lower overnight rate may be attractive to a person who wishes to set their dishwasher to run overnight or who charges their EV overnight."

With files from Angela Gemmill