Could electric vehicle mandate raise power bills? Maybe not

Gov. Ned Lamont is pushing for all new car sales to go electric or plug-in hybrid by 2035, but could the move raise your electric bill?
Although utility companies say Connecticut’s power grid needs billions of dollars in upgrades, the impact on customers may be more limited.
LOTS OF ELECTRICITY
Dyenise Peralta, of Stamford, bought a Tesla to save money – and help save the planet.
“You definitely save on gas,” she said. “And then, yes, you do save on – saving, basically, the environment.”
Lamont is asking state lawmakers to approve his EV sales mandate. Used cars would not be impacted.
But Republicans are raising alarm bells about the state’s power grid.
“They don't have an infrastructure built out yet to support this plan,” said state Rep. Vin Candelora (R-North Branford), the Connecticut House GOP leader.
COSTLY UPGRADES
Eversource estimates that upgrading the power grid could cost up to $2 billion. At a news conference on Monday, company leaders suggested that rate hikes may be necessary.
“I'm sure that, working together, we can forge a path forward that enables companies like Eversource to make that investment in the electric grid,” said Eversource Connecticut president Steve Sullivan.
But the impact on your bill may be muted, because utilities can spread the cost over decades. A Consumer Reports analysis estimated that full EV adoption won’t happen until 2050. By then, the publication estimated that the U.S. will need about 22% more electricity.
“MANAGED CHARGING”
Connecticut is already taking steps to reduce electric vehicles’ strain on the power grid.
It's called “Managed Charging.” If customers avoid charging during peak hours – from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays – they can get up to $25 off their monthly electric bill.
“They see benefits joining, and we see benefit in them providing flexibility in their timing of their charging,” said Charles Spence, the Vehicle Grid Integration Manager for Avangrid, the parent company of United Illuminating. “Up to the point where a customer is giving us flexibility to adjust charging in the 15 minute increment level.”
Utilities are using new “smart meters” to identify EV owners and sign them up for Managed Charging. More than 3,000 customers enrolled as of this summer, according to the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.
A discount sounds good to Dyenise Peralta.
“I will take advantage of that,” she said. “I’ll do it overnight, because I’m out of the house all day.”
To sign up for Managed Charging, click here for Eversource and here for UI.