El Paso Electric's EV Initiatives
At El Paso Electric, we believe EVs can save our customers money while helping the environment. That's why we're focusing on increasing customer awareness of benefits of transportation electrification, working with various organizations to increase access to EV charging, designing EV-friendly rates, researching how EV charging affects the grid and how we are electrifying our own fleet.
EPE's Fleet Electrification
EPE's electrification efforts began with the purchase of a Nissan LEAF for the Company's fleet in 2014. Subsequently, EPE acquired hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles for its fleet. In addition, EPE's electrified fleet grew with the procurement of new Electric Power Take-Off ("ePTO") bucket trucks that run the bucket with minimum noise, helping reduce air pollution, noise pollution, and improved operator safety. EPE also installed several charging stations for its fleet vehicles and one for employee charging. By 2021, EPE has electrified approximately 7% of company's fleet. EPE has made a commitment by announcing its goal to electrify 100% of light-duty passenger vehicles and switching 100% of service trucks to include electric Power Take-Off Systems (ePTO) systems by 2025.
EPE's Customer Education and Outreach
EPE continued its efforts with development of an educational website about electric vehicles (EVs) to help improve customer awareness and understanding of transportation electrification benefits, charging options, available incentives and special rates. In 2020, EPE launched its first Electric Vehicle (EV) Community website registration page. The purpose of this page is to engage with existing EV owners on the topics of transportation electrification to keep them informed about the latest news in the industry, availability of charging infrastructure, incentives and special EV charging rates, and for customers to share their testimonials with others. To engage customers subscribed to EV community, EPE organizes events and distributes a quarterly newsletter. All subscribers also received a Welcome Kit from EPE after joining. Through the registration of the EV owner, EPE receives information about customers charging location and estimated charging demand. This information will help EPE to assess future capacity needs for existing electrical service and proactively perform infrastructure upgrades to avoid potential transformer failures. EPE's EV Community was well-received by customers with many expressing interest in joining even without being an EV owner but wanting to learn more about EV conversion journey. That is why EPE is expanding its EV Community to all of its customers beginning in 2021. EPE has also focused on employee education and awareness, as well as Customer Service training.
EV Charging Rates
In addition, EPE offers a special EV charging rate and a whole-house Time-of-Use rate that can save customers money by using energy during specific hours. More information can be found on the EV Rates page.
In 2020, EPE began conversations with local home builders, apartment and realtor associations to provide information on development of EV-ready homes, buildings and parking lots. In addition, EPE began working with local dealerships and automakers to discuss local EV inventory, sales staff knowledge about EVs and charging, and potential collaborations.
Electrification Grid Impact Study
EPE is also working on an assessment of the adequacy of EPE's current generation, transmission and distribution systems capacity to meet the growing electricity demand created by EVs to ensure continued reliable operation of the electric grid.
Electrification of Transportation Plan
EPE looks to continue its drive toward a greener and more sustainable future as the Company files its Transportation Electrification Plan (TEP) with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) for approval. The overarching goal of this two-year plan is to increase the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) by incentivizing the installation and usage of smart charging infrastructure through rebate and pilot rate programs while, addressing the challenges associated with the lack of awareness of both the technology and benefits of EVs.