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PGE giving $500 rebate on electric vehicle chargers

PGE is allowing 5,000 customers into the pilot program.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ever thought about getting an electric vehicle, but are a little concerned about how to charge it? You're certainly not alone. That's a pretty common worry. But Portland General Electric (PGE)  is making the charging part a whole lot easier with its pilot residential electrical vehicle charging program.

"As long as you are a customer and you own or lease an electric vehicle, you can participate in the program," said Quisha Light, manager of product development for PGE.

Customers who sign up for the pilot program will get a $500 rebate, in some cases more, on one of three approved electric vehicle chargers. All are available on Amazon.

Gary Exner signed up for the program back in December.

"It's relatively easy to get these," he said. "I ordered mine through Amazon and it was there the next day, literally, and I had it installed the day after that."

With the rebate plus the federal incentive, it was a deal.

"By the time you factor in the 30% tax credit, it's basically almost free," Exner said.

Participation automatically enrolls you into PGE's smart charging program which allows the company to control your charging, as in slow or delay it, during peak usage times. But, if that worries you, you'll be happy to hear you can also override that at any time.

"It gives a lot of feedback to the user on how they're using, what it's costing," said Exner. 

Exner, who is also president of the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association, calls this the first step toward what's referred to as "vehicle to grid." In other words, in the not so distant future, our cars will be helping to power our homes.

"The peak demand right now is when people get home from work, so if you can plug in your EV and you can power your house and fridge, partly power your house and fridge, for a few hours, that can really reduce the draw on the grid," Exner said.

PGE is allowing 5,000 customers into the pilot program. There is still plenty of space.