As a member of JOEMC, you may be familiar with our Brighter Future vision of serving this community by providing safe and reliable access to energy that is affordable and increasingly sustainable. As we work toward this vision, it is critical that we appropriately stay ahead of trends to ensure we meet the emerging power needs of our member-consumers.

A significant emerging trend across the nation is consumer adoption of electric vehicles. In 2020, a survey provided exclusively to members of electric cooperatives across the nation showed that 1 in 6 co-op members are likely to consider an electric vehicle as their next car. Although that may not seem like a critical mass, to ensure continued reliability, our engineers are planning for this increased electric demand and just as importantly, so we can provide solutions to our members making the switch.

Because we know interest in these vehicles is on an upward trajectory, we are making investments now to build public charging stations in our local community. Doing so will help ensure our region is not overlooked for tourism, commerce, and economic development opportunities, and it facilitates driving an electric vehicle for people here locally.

Currently, we have participated in locating two public charging stations in our service area — one at our headquarters facility in Jacksonville and the other through a partnership with the Hampton Inn in Sneads Ferry. We continue to explore adding more charging stations in our community, whether at existing businesses or public spaces or working with developers as they build new commercial properties. If charging is managed appropriately, electric vehicles can significantly benefit the electric grid in ways that will not impact the reliability and affordability of electricity. When charged at night, EVs add load to the grid when it is historically most underused. Power is the most expensive at peak demand hours, like late afternoon in the summer and early morning in the winter. Nighttime EV charging is an example of spreading load across more hours of the day to help flatten expensive peaks and this is an area we will continue to explore.

These benefits to the grid are important, but EV drivers often realize other benefits, like cost savings, more convenience, less maintenance, better impact on the environment, and — many would argue—a better driving experience.

You can learn more about the many significant benefits of driving electric, see information addressing common myths and misunderstandings of EVs, and find financial incentives for driving electric at NC Drive Electric and the JOEMC website.