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Clean Energy

EV Frequently Asked Questions

The Hawaiian Electric Companies (Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light, and Maui Electric) support the transition to cleaner transportation by providing programs that use Electric Vehicles (EVs) to match the needs of our islands' grids. Here are some frequently asked questions about EVs and the Hawaiian Electric Companies EV Rates.

Overview:

Which programs provided by the Hawaiian Electric Companies support electric transportation?

Why are the Hawaiian Electric Companies doing this?

Vehicles and Charging:

Why should I consider an EV for my next vehicle purchase?

How does paying for electricity compare to paying for gasoline?

Are there rebates or incentives for purchasing an EV?

Where can I get more information about a particular EV?

What do I need to consider before purchasing an EV?

Can the Hawaiian Electric Companies install an EV charger for me?

Can my business provide charging to customers or employees?

Rates:

What are time-of-use (TOU) rates?

How do EV rates work?

If I am a Net Energy Metering (NEM) customer, can I continue to use NEM?

How to choose whether to have one meter or two?

If I have two meters, can I use the TOU meter for other appliances?

Will I get one bill or two?

What will the Hawaiian Electric Companies charge for my new meter?

Can I get a copy of the proposed rates?

What kind of EVs qualify for this rate?

Do I have to use the EV rates if I have an EV?

Can I sell back electricity from my EV battery through vehicle-to-grid technology?

Enrollment and Cancellation:

How do I sign up?

When should I start the process?

What happens if I no longer wish to be on the EV rates, or no longer own a qualified EV and need to cancel the EV rates?

What happens if I move from my present home to another address and wish to continue the EV rates?

Overview Answers:

 Which programs provided by the Hawaiian Electric Companies support electric transportation?

Since 2010, Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light, and Maui Electric have offered EV Charging Rates to encourage customers to use EVs in ways that best support our grid. EV owners pay a lower rate for charging vehicles at home during off-peak hours (9 p.m. to 7 a.m.) when enrolled on these rates. For more information about our EV rates, please visit our “EV Rates and Enrollment” page.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies also offer a commercial rate to encourage businesses to install a public charging station or a DC fast charging station.

Additionally, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have a pilot program to install DC fast charging stations for public use on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island.

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 Why do the Hawaiian Electric Companies offer EV rates?

The special rates are designed to:

  • Support the State of Hawaii’s goal to reduce oil use for ground transportation.
  • Encourage adoption of EVs and off-peak charging to help with grid stability.
  • Help us better understand grid impacts of EV charging by collecting data and conducting research.

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Vehicles and Charging Answers:

 Why should I consider an EV for my next vehicle purchase?

EVs offer many advantages. Federal tax credits up to $7,500 and fuel savings make them cheaper to own or lease. The cost per mile to drive an EV could be as little as one-half the cost of driving a typical gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle. EVs are quick and fun to drive. They provide environmental benefits such as reduced emissions and noise. EVs can park for free in state and municipal lots and at metered parking stalls. EVs can also use high occupancy vehicle lanes with just the driver on board.

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 How does paying for electricity compare to paying for gasoline?

In December 2014, on Oahu, regular gasoline cost approximately $3.56 per gallon and electricity cost approximately $0.319/kWh. With these energy costs, a mid-sized internal combustion sedan with an average fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon had a fuel cost of approximately 14 cents per mile while an EV with a range of 85 miles on a 24-kWh battery had a charging cost of approximately 9 cents per mile.

Taking advantage of Hawaiian Electric’s EV rates and charging during off-peak hours, the EV charging cost could drop to approximately 7.3 cents per mile.

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 Are there rebates or incentives for purchasing an EV?

Currently, there are up to $7,500 of federal tax credit allowed for the purchase of a qualifying EV. Vehicles with an electric vehicle license plate have certain exemptions for state and county parking as well as HOV lanes. For more details on federal & state incentives, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy web site at www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/law or call (877) 337-3463 or visit the Energy Division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism web site at http://energy.hawaii.gov/testbeds-initiatives/ev-ready-program/laws-incentives. Consult your personal financial advisor or tax preparer if you have questions.

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 Where can I get more information about a particular EV?

Please contact the specific EV manufacturer for vehicle pricing, batteries, charging specifications, safety, special programs, and other details. There are also links to EV manufacturers in our “Resources” page.

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 What do I need to consider before purchasing an EV?

If you are thinking of purchasing an EV, start by understanding the difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages so it’s important to find the one that fits your lifestyle. Some things to consider are the distance of your commute and how you will charge the vehicle.

Several charging options are available. In some cases, a simple 120-volt plug-and-cord set using a standard outlet may be all you require. In other cases, you may want to purchase a faster Level 2 charger. Your EV dealer or manufacturer can help you make this decision. If you chose to install a Level 2 station, please consult a licensed electrical contractor. As with all electrical upgrades, your county building department must approve plans and sign off when the installation is complete.

There is more information on these topics in our “Vehicle and Charging Basics” page.

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 Can the Hawaiian Electric Companies install an EV charger for me?

No. The Hawaiian Electric Companies can only provide necessary service on the utility side of the meter. Please consult a licensed electrician for additional electrical work.

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 Can my business provide charging to customers or employees?

Any business can provide charging to customers or employees for a fee or as a service. If your business wishes to do so, please consult a licensed electrical contractor.

Businesses wishing to provide charging services utilizing the EV rate must certify that the separate service is for EV charging only.

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Rates Answers:

 What are TOU rates?

With TOU rates, you pay more per kilowatt-hour when electricity demand is higher and less when demand is lower. This is to incentivize customers to shift their EV charging to times when demand is low, which helps us to operate more efficiently and keep our costs down.

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 How do EV Charging Rates work?

For residential customers, you have a choice of:

  • TOU EV: having a single TOU electric meter with TOU rates to measure your home energy usage and EV charging, or
  • EV-R: keeping your present meter at standard rates to measure your home energy usage and adding a second, dedicated meter with TOU rates to measure EV charging only.

Whichever option you choose, the same low rates are available for charging from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. You may always charge during the day, but you will pay higher than typical rates. The rates are designed such that our typical customer does not have to change how they use their household electricity, just has to charge between 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., to save money.

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 If I am a Net Energy Metering (NEM) customer, can I continue to use NEM on the EV Rate?

Yes. Any excess power you send from your renewable energy installation (like solar panels) will be credited to your account at the same rate that you would pay if you took power from the grid at that time.

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 How to choose whether to have one meter or two?

Some customers want a second meter so their existing household meter will not be on a time of use rate. If you are considering getting a second meter, it is best to contact your utility first, as the process can be complex. The customer is responsible for installing the infrastructure required for a second meter, and it can be used only for EV charging. Commercial customers wishing to have an EV rate must get a second meter.

The single meter rate may not require any electrical work other than the utility’s replacement of the meter. Under this rate, the combined electric usage of the existing household and charging will be on the time-of-use rate. A typical household may achieve further savings by shifting more electric use into the off-peak period.

If you have a NEM agreement with the Hawaiian Electric Companies, keep in mind that your NEM credits can only be applied to the account that has the agreement. If you decide to get a second meter, you will have two separate accounts. As a result, your NEM credits can be applied only to the account that has the agreement, which is typically the household account.

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 If I have two meters, can I use the TOU meter for other appliances?

If you have two meters, the second meter is ONLY for charging your EV and not for any other use. The Hawaiian Electric Companies may investigate any apparent fraudulent use of EV charge facilities consistent with power theft policies.

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 Will I get one bill or two?

If you opt for the one-meter rate, you will receive a single bill. If you opt for the two-meter rate, you will receive two bills. Commercial customers will receive a separate bill for every meter.

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 What will the Hawaiian Electric Companies charge for my new meter?

If you enroll in one of the EV Charging Rates, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or Hawaii Electric Light will install a Time-of-Use meter at NO charge. A monthly charge of $1.50 for residential customers and $5 per meter for commercial customers will be applied to your bill to cover any additional operating costs associated with time-of-use rates.

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 Can I get a copy of the EV rates?

All Hawaiian Electric Companies’ rate sheets or tariffs are available on-line here.

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 What kind of EVs qualify for the EV rates?

Eligible EVs get all or some power through a plug, have a battery with a capacity that is four kilowatt-hours or larger, and are qualified to drive on public streets, roads and highways.

Hybrids that do not plug-in to recharge their batteries do not qualify. Neither do “neighborhood EVs” (NEVs) and medium-speed electric vehicles (MSEVs) which the U.S. Department of Transportation classify as low-speed vehicles, not exceeding speeds of 35 miles per hour.

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 Do I have to use the EV Charging Rates if I have an EV?

No, you can charge your EV on your current electric rate. However, the special EV rates provide our typical customer savings for charging their EV between the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Customer wishing to participate on an EV rate must submit a completed enrollment form to qualify. Please visit our “EV Rates and Enrollment” page for more information about our EV rate and the enrollment form.

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 Can I sell back electricity from my EV battery through vehicle-to-grid technology?

This technology is currently not available. Automakers and utilities are investigating plug-in vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid technologies. In the future, EV owners may be able use their vehicles as a source of electricity during a power outage or emergency or send electricity to the grid during periods of high electricity demand.

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Enrollment and Cancellation Answers:

 How do I sign up?

To start the process, customers with an EV or who plan to buy one should contact their utility company. Contact information can be found at the bottom of the EV homepage. Enrollment requires the customer to fill out the application form and send it in along with a copy of the EV registration. You must provide building permit numbers for EV charging station installation(s), where applicable. You must maintain and provide a valid, current EV registration for vehicles charging at the account location. If you elect the two-meter option, you must certify that service under this rate will be for EV charging only. All applicable permits must be closed before enrollment is completed.

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 When should I start the enrollment process?

Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light, and Maui Electric want to ensure that you have a positive EV experience. Therefore, the best way for us to help you is to contact us early if you are considering buying an EV for home or business.

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 What happens if I no longer wish to be on the EV rates, or no longer own a qualified EV?

You need to contact your utility company and request the regular residential rate. Please remember, if you cancel the EV rate, you are not eligible to return to the rate for a year.

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 What happens if I move from my present home to another address and wish to continue the EV rates?

If you move and wish to continue EV Charging Rates at your new home, notify your utility company when you shut off your old service and start new service. Your utility company will discontinue EV Charging Rates at the old address. You will need to submit an application and a copy of your EV registration to start the EV rates at your new address.

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