electric car
Source: Unsplash/Stux

Australian energy and gas major AGL has launched a new plan that could see electric vehicle drivers earn credits towards their electricity bill, which it says will help reduce household costs and offset the higher purchase price of electric cars.

Under the “AGL Electric Vehicle Plan”, households that have at least one electric vehicle (EV) registered would gain up to $480 worth of credits towards household bills over two years, with locked in rates for that period and the ability to offset household carbon emissions.

Households that have rooftop solar are also eligible for the plan, which AGL says could households save 25% in electricity costs based on an average customer in Sydney postcode 2000 using 3800kWh of energy a year.

AGL chief customer officer Christine Corbett says the plan is aimed at taking the pressure off households who have made the step towards zero emissions living by investing in an electric vehicle.

“This new plan allows our customers to make the most of their investment in electric vehicles while taking the pressure off their running costs and the environment,” Ms Corbett said in a note by email.

Although reduced maintenance and power cost of electric vehicles mean that the overall cost of ownership is creeping towards that of ICE vehicles, the higher purchase price of EVs has often been cited as a barrier to uptake to EVs by a number of studies.

AGL – which has been toying with the idea of a special electricity plan for EV owners as far back as 2015 – says the plan is based on its fixed price Essentials Plus plan which has proven popular since it was launched earlier in 2019 in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

When initial ideas were first put forward by AGL in 2015, it was clear that despite recently investing in $4 billion in new coal-fired power plants, the energy company was cognizant of the fact that it was also at risk of losing customers should it not address the shift to zero emissions energy and transport.

A “customer-centric model” was needed, according to AGL’s connected mobility specialist Kristian Handberg.

But in 2015 a global transition to electric vehicles was still taking relative baby steps and a far way from making any sort of major impact in Australia, with only a thousand or so such vehicles on the road.

AGL later revealed in 2016 a $1-a-day “all you can eat” unlimited EV charging plan but that was later ended in October 2018 after a 2-year trial period.

Origin Energy has also recently introduced its own plan, in conjunction with Hyundai and other offers include a cut-rate off-peak plan in Queensland from Powershop.

AGL says that its 2-year trial taught it that EV owners prefer a mixture of fixed rates, carbon offsetting and the ability to charge at any time of the day (both single rate and time of use plans area available).

“We ran workshops with EV owners to develop the new proposition and it became clear that flexibility and offsetting carbon emissions were key requirements,” says Corbett.

“Certified carbon offset programs allow customers to offset their household electricity emissions, including when they charge their car at home.”

To access the plan, interested EV owners need to visit the AGL website and submit name, car make and model and registration number to determine eligibility.

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