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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark Public Utilities pilot program offers $50 credit to electric vehicle owners

EV owners agree to not charge during peak hours, helping utility manage power supply, its costs

By William Seekamp, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 2, 2024, 6:05am
3 Photos
An electric vehicle charges Monday at Clark Public Utilities on Fort Vancouver Way in Vancouver. The utility is piloting a credit for people who agree to charge their vehicles at home during off-peak hours.
An electric vehicle charges Monday at Clark Public Utilities on Fort Vancouver Way in Vancouver. The utility is piloting a credit for people who agree to charge their vehicles at home during off-peak hours. (Photos by Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A new pilot program offers electric vehicle owners in Clark County a $50 credit from Clark Public Utilities to forgo charging their vehicles during peak demand hours.

With nearly 10,500 registered electric vehicles in the county, according to the Department of Licensing, the pilot program will allow Clark Public Utilities to manage power supply costs and maintain affordability of service as the number of electric vehicles grows locally.

“That allows us to reduce wholesale electricity purchases, which helps keep our costs down, and reduces stress on our local grid,” Dameon Pesanti, public information officer for Clark Public Utilities, wrote in an email.

Each weekday from June through September, which is cooling season, those enrolled in the pilot program will be restricted from charging their electric vehicles from 4-8 p.m. From November to March, heating season, charging would be restricted from 6-10 a.m.

Participants in the pilot program can opt out of a charging-restricted window if need be.

The $50 credit will be split into two $25 credits: one awarded when motorists sign up and the other at the end of the year. Up to two electric vehicles per household are eligible to receive the $50 credit.

Most makes of electric vehicles are eligible to participate, including Tesla, BMW, Nissan and Hyundai. However, Chevrolet is not.

At least one person was confused when trying to sign up for the credit because his charger appeared to be incompatible. Pesanti said those interested should only register their vehicle, not their charger.

Don Steinke, a local environmental activist, said if his Chevrolet Bolt was eligible for the credit, he’d sign up.

“It’s a very smart strategy,” Steinke said. “I’m glad they’re doing it.”

To enroll in the program, go to optiwatt.com/signup

Editor’s note: the URL to enroll in the program has been updated.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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