GreenNews from Georgia Power

  VOL 6  |  NO 1  |  SUMMER 2012


 Your source for renewable energy information from Georgia Power

Passionate about saving electricity at home and on the road

Ask Georgia Power customer Don Francis on any given day how many kilowatt-hours he’s using, and he can tell you.

Francis is passionate about making smart choices when it comes to his energy use. From keeping his thermostat at a constant ideal temperature, to incorporating energy-saving measures such as installing an electric hot water heater and replacing the bulbs in his remodeled home with compact fluorescent light bulbs and light-emitting diode lights, Francis is taking advantage of what Georgia Power has to offer under its energy efficiency programs.

So, it was little surprise that when he learned about the company’s plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) rate for his 2011 Nissan Leaf, he was among the first to sign up.

The rate offers a savings to residential customers who are willing to charge their electric vehicles and shift other household energy usage to between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Francis is one of 63 electric vehicle owners across the state who are taking advantage of the rate, which was developed in 2011.

“The new rate can save PEV owners approximately 13 percent annually compared with Georgia Power’s standard residential rate,” said Ben Echols, electric transportation program manager. “The typical residential customer uses 12,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually. Based on 12,000 miles of driving, an electric vehicle would add an additional 4,000 kWh annually to a customer’s bill.”

Francis, a retired Georgia Power employee and one of the original members of the company’s electric transportation group, signed up for the rate online and keeps a spreadsheet of his daily electricity use.

“We also do our laundry at night and don’t wash dishes before 11 p.m.,” Francis said, as he demonstrated how he plugs his vehicle into a charger in his garage. While Francis has a 220-volt charger that can charge the car in half the time, a 110-volt outlet can be used. Public charging stations are also beginning to be installed around the state.

In fact, Alabama and Georgia are among 24 states receiving a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to support community planning for plug-in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. A total of $8.5 million will be spread throughout 16 projects in the 24 states, Echols said.

A $545,400 grant – one of the largest awarded – will benefit the entire Southeast by bolstering public-private partnerships that advance electric vehicle technologies, such as DOE’s Clean Cities initiatives.

Clean Cities initiatives are alternative-transportation deployment programs that work with vehicle fleets, fuel providers, community leaders and other stakeholders to reduce petroleum use in transportation.

Fittingly enough, Francis is the executive director of Clean Cities Atlanta. He’s also treasurer of the local electric vehicle club and a source of knowledge for current and future electric vehicle owners who want to find out more.

“There are so many benefits to driving an electric vehicle,” Francis said. “But beyond the obvious reasons, the main one is it’s costing me 2 cents a mile to drive my electric car as opposed to 15 to 20 cents a mile for my gasoline vehicle. That’s 10 percent of the cost.”

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