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  • Sophia Thomas

FlexCharging is featured on WCAX, showcasing our EV Grid Management Program with VEC, and Camus Energy.

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A Vermont electric utility is getting creative to meet the growing demand for electric vehicle charging and saving customers money.

Charging multiple EVs at home during peak charging time can overwhelm the grid and gouge consumers’ wallets.

“Our needs have gone up pretty exponentially,” said Robert Lair, a Burlington EV owner, who says he wants to see more sustainable and affordable methods of electric charging. “We need more electricity being generated at the house but we need the utilities to have smart grids.”

“Just a little bit more information that can then allow us to better manage that EV charging than we can currently,” said VEC’s Cyril Brunner.

With help from grid and charging management companies Camus Energy and FlexCharging, VEC tracks how many EVs are plugged in and charges them in intervals. Customers wake up to fully-charged vehicles and VEC prevents grid overload.

“If we can just kind of slightly shift the time at which the EV is charging, then that can kind of smooth out that consumption,” said Emma Elgqvist with Camus Energy.

Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest utility, has used telematics -- or EV data monitoring -- for years, but VEC says they’re the first co-op utility in the state using telematics to avoid the need for major infrastructure upgrades by redistributing energy rather than creating more of it. VEC says the aim is to keep costs low. “We’re hopeful that this program can continue to keep our rates as affordable as they can be,” Brunner said.

For now, the program just applies to at-home charging, but Lair -- the CEO of Burlington workspace Hula which has ten charging stations -- wants to bring grid management to businesses, too. “When we’re at 100 or even 200 charging stations, it’s going to be off the charts in terms of electrical use, so I’m all for it,” he said.

VEC says they’re managing to charge several times a month right now with the goal of working up to 24/7 management.

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