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JEA To Launch Electric Vehicle Incentive That Could Shape Charging Habits

A 2014 Cadillac ELR is pictured charging in a Jacksonville homeowner's garage.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS
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A 2014 Cadillac ELR is pictured charging in a Jacksonville homeowner's garage.

Next month JEA will be launching an incentive program aimed at electric vehicle drivers that could cover the cost of electricity needed to drive up to 2,000 or more miles per year.

With more EV and plug-in hybrid models hitting showrooms, JEA is preparing for the additional load that EVs will place on the grid by encouraging drivers to charge at night in return for a rebate based on the number of kilowatts each vehicle uses.

Screenshot_20210712-144614_MINI.jpg
Credit BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS
This screenshot from a Mini Cooper SE Android app illustrates how the EV be programmed to charge at specific times.

Most EVs and plug-in hybrids have built-in software and apps that allow owners to program them to automatically start and stop charging at specific times, meaning an owner could leave a car plugged in all the time but it only would charge at specific hours at night.

No special equipment will be needed to take part in the rebate program because JEA is able to automatically determine when plug-in vehicles are charging.

Electric vehicle chargers produce a unique "load signature" that appears in metering data, according to JEA spokeswoman Karen McAllister.

"So as long as that signature shows up, during off peak hours, the customer is eligible for the rebate. If charging is performed during peak hours, the customer is reminded of their commitment before losing the incentive,” McAllister said.

The program will apply to all electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles, according to JEA’s Drive Electric website.

JEA will pay customers that take advantage of the program $7 per month, paid quarterly, which works out to $84 in savings per year. 

To qualify, customers will only be allowed to charge their vehicles between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday-Friday. On weekends they can continue to charge at anytime to qualify.

For homeowners with two EVs, McAllister said both vehicles could be enrolled, upping the potential rebate to $14 per month, paid quarterly.

Sales of electric vehicles have been quickly growing as more models such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4 and others come to market.

EV industry website Electrek reported U.S. electric vehicle sales in May reached 53,779 units, representing a 19.2% increase over April 2021 and a 329% year-over-year increase.

Plug-in vehicle owners who are JEA customers and interested in participating in the rebate program can sign up here.

EV owners may also qualifiy for a federal tax credit worth up to $1,000 for installing EV charging equipment in their home. Here's the IRS form to apply.

In addition, some plug-in vehicles quality for a tax credit up to $7,500. The amount of the credit depends on the size of the vehicle’s battery.

New plug-in vehicles from manufacturers that have already built more than 200,000 EVs – such as General Motors and Tesla – no longer qualify for the credit. Used vehicles also don’t qualify.

For EV buyers its also important to note that tax credits are not the same as rebates. Depending on your tax situation, you may not be able to take advantage of an available credit.

More information on the federal plug-in vehicles tax credit is available at this IRS page.

JEA also provides free consultations for EV owners on finding an electrician to install charging station outlets, navigating charging equipment and more. 

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.