Dear Mahatma: If someday we have thousands more electric vehicles, will the electric company be able to keep up with the additional demand for electricity? — Saline County Skeptic
Dear Skeptic: The Electric Big Dog in Arkansas is Entergy, with more than 700,000 residential, commercial, industrial and public agency customers. That’s according to a document filed with the state Public Service Commission.
Entergy was formerly known as Arkansas Power & Light. Imagine all the whippersnappers who don’t know that, and all the geezers who do.
We asked Entergy to respond to your question, and got a cornucopia of information in return.
Brandi Hinkle, a senior communications specialist for Entergy, said the utility seldom reaches system capacity. When that capacity is reached, it’s usually in the afternoons and early evenings of very hot weather. Also in the winter when people are home during times of extended freezing temperatures. Under such circumstances, she said, customers are asked to be conservative in their usage.
We say such events are rare enough to be memorable. Who can forget the February 2021 snowstorm and week of freezing weather?
Hinkle also said that in the relatively short term the utility plans to generate additional power from solar and wind sources, and Entergy is confident in its ability to provide safe, affordable and reliable power.
Now, about those electric vehicles.
Most people charge those at night, Hinkle said, when there is less demand for electricity. She said home chargers typically use energy equal to that of a large appliance, so the draw is not huge. The company is also involved in building commercial chargers near well-traveled areas.
Rebates are also offered to customers who purchase and install chargers. Entergy customers can, within 90 days of buying an electric vehicle, go to www.entergyetech.com for more information and to apply for rebates. The utility also says it costs about $7 to fully charge an EV with a 200-mile range. The rebate for a residential EV charger is $250. A friend of ours had his charger installed for about $300.
Quoting Merle Haggard: It’s not love, but it’s not bad.
We now conclude the answer to the question above from Entergy is: Yes. And the electric company supports electrification of the automotive fleet. Of course it does.
A yes answer should also be predicated on growth in the EV market. Currently, about 3,000 fully electric vehicles are registered in Arkansas. Out of about 2,725,000 registered vehicles. That’s a scant fraction. Ten percent of the total registered vehicles would be 272,500.
The wise man says a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Step large, Arkansas. Step large.
Vanity plate on a Dodge Charger: CHARMER.