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FARMINGTON, Minn. — Dakota Electric Association announced the launch of a new pilot program developed by Great River Energy, Dakota Electric’s wholesale power supplier, that makes it easier for people to transition from the gas pump to the plug-in.


Beginning this August, Dakota Electric will provide ChargeWise outlets for installation in members’ garages to provide low-cost, off-peak energy for charging plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The program is being developed in anticipation of the availability of several production PHEVs over the next two years. Special incentives are available to a limited number of qualified members who own a PHEV.


“Dakota Electric is looking forward to adding ChargeWise to our many other programs available to help our members save energy and money,” Greg Miller, Dakota Electric’s CEO, said.


The ChargeWise outlets will charge PHEV batteries between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when demand for electricity — and its wholesale price — is at its lowest. Charging the batteries during these hours also allows Great River Energy to provide PHEVs with a significant amount of power from renewable sources such as wind.


“It’s cleaner, greener and cheaper than gasoline,” said Gary Connett of Great River Energy. “As more wind energy is added to the electric grid, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will get even greener.”


Dakota Electric currently offers several programs designed to maximize the use of electricity that is generated overnight, including off-peak “storage” water and space heating. Dakota Electric members are encouraged to call 651-463-6243 to find out more.