Case Studies Minnesota

Participant Case Study | Ottertail

Otter Tail Power Company is an investor-owned electric utility that provides electricity and energy services for residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The company safely powers its communities with reliable, affordable electricity while offering rates among the lowest in the nation – all while creating a stronger, smarter energy grid and cleaner energy future. Otter Tail Power also provides various electric vehicle (EV) incentives and educational opportunities for customers who own EVs and need to have charging stations installed in their homes.

In addition to at-home charging, Otter Tail Power is focused on creating a public charging infrastructure throughout its Minnesota service territory. The company’s DC fast charging infrastructure initiative stemmed from an understanding of the rural communities they serve. After realizing that many rural customers weren’t purchasing EVs due to the lack of available chargers in the area, Otter Tail Power took the initiative to build 11 DC fast charging station sites located within 45-60 miles of all its Minnesota customers. This infrastructure not only mitigates range anxiety for drivers, but it also allows the company to give its customers equal access in the communities they serve—rural or urban—with less barriers.

Otter Tail Power has also added Level 2 chargers at several company buildings and is working on adding additional Level 1 and 2 charging options for employees. Through various EV educational efforts, the company strives to ensure all customers understand and feel comfortable with EV technology. Teaching efforts include hosting Ride and Drive events for the public featuring a Mach-E fleet vehicle.

“From the Ride and Drive events, people are super excited about the technology of the vehicles, it has been a lot of smiles more than anything.”

– Luke Meech, Customer Technology Specialist and Market Planning

Continuing to develop additional electric vehicle rates and programs is another goal for Otter Tail Power, which will allow for more off-peak charging programs to better fit customers’ needs and schedules. Currently, residential EV customers may enjoy a rebate of up to $400 when they install a hardwired Level 2 charging station on one of the company’s qualified off-peak rates. The Drive On Electric Vehicle Rate lets Minnesota EV drivers charge their vehicles for less than half the standard rate with a Level 2 charging station.

Otter Tail Power plans to continue to work closely with EV dealerships to provide them with the resources needed to ensure all customers who purchase an EV leave fully understanding the process of installing a charger and the potential fuel cost savings. This collaboration with dealerships provides hands-on support to new and existing EV owners with educational resources.

In the long-term, Otter Tail Power looks forward to rolling out three electric school buses that will serve in two of its communities. These additions will continue to help lower local emissions. The company also plans to collaborate with more local dealerships, continue the DC fast charging build-out, add Level 2 chargers in 10 additional communities, and expand its EV education and awareness throughout Minnesota.