New program in South Carolina offering EV drivers $150 savings on their energy bill

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 11:21 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - As more drivers make the switch to electric vehicles, companies like Horry Electric Cooperative are looking for new ways to spread their energy further while saving you a few extra bucks.

In November, South Carolina Electric Cooperatives partnered with Optiwatt.

Optiwatt created an app to help electric vehicle owners lower their energy costs simply by optimizing when they charge.

“We’re really trying to show the data of what the impact could be if people shift the peak charging,” said Casey Donahue, CEO of Optiwatt

Horry Electric Energy Services Supervisor Gordon Lay said there’s a lot to learn when it comes to electric vehicles as more hit the road each year.

“We get a lot of questions as folks are considering electric for their next vehicle,” said Lay.

As of 2021, just over 7,400 electric vehicles have been registered with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

However, if you’re driving from Myrtle Beach to Florence, you’ll notice there are few places to charge up if you’re taking a longer trip.

“It’s hit or miss you never know how busy a particular charging stations going to be,” said electric vehicle driver Paul Ryan.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 80% of charging happens at the driver’s home.

To keep up with the peaked energy some utility companies rely on extra power plants.

By downloading the Optiwatt app it will determine the best possible times to charge.

Donahue said it’s all about charging outside of those peak hours, which can save users money on that monthly energy bill when charging with Optiwatt.

“We’re able to curtail the vehicles to charge a little later like 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. when there’s less home load and that’s how you flatten the energy load curve,” said Donahue.

Less than 100 spots are left to opt into the pilot program.

You will then be eligible for the $150 credit off your Horry Electric Cooperative bill.

Horry Electric also offers tips for new electric vehicle owners like the best value for home charging.

“We want to be that trusted energy resource for our members,” said Lay.

The city of Myrtle Beach is currently working on plans to add more public electric vehicle chargers throughout the city over the next decade, but they’re still in the very early stages of planning.