Xcel Energy is launching a new in-home charging program for electric vehicles this week.
Enrollment in the pilot program, which was approved by Minnesota utility regulators in April, begins at noon Wednesday. The program is capped at 100 participants on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The two-year program eliminates the need for customers to install a second electrical meter. A second meter can cost from $200 to $2,000, depending on a home's layout and the quality of its electrical system.
Due to second meter expenses, an earlier Xcel car-charging program didn't attract as many customers as expected.
The pilot uses a 240-volt "smart" charger with metering capability, while electric cars usually come with a "level one" 120-volt charger. The 240-volt charger, which requires an outlet often used for large appliances, can provide up to 25 miles per hour of charging, six times more than a level-one charger.
Participants in Xcel's new program can pay upfront or over time for the 240-volt charger, which costs several hundred dollars. The new program, like the old one, includes a discount rate for charging vehicles during the overnight hours. Customers interested in joining the pilot program can enroll at xcelenergy.com.