Electric cars are designed to reduce consumers' expenses for fuel, relying on cheaper power from large-scale utilities, but for some Virginians they could help lower electricity rates as well, according to The Washington Post.

Dominion Virginia Power introduced a new pilot program at the start of October designed to encourage electric car owners to charge their vehicles at night, to ease the strain on the grid during peak hours.

"This pilot program provides electric-vehicle users an option to help them manage their vehicle charging costs," Kenneth D. Barker, vice president of Customer Solutions and Energy Conservation at Dominion, said in a statement. "Knowing that customers will charge their vehicles at night when power demand is at its lowest will enable us to plan accordingly."

The program will offer two options, with one installing a separate meter for the electric car and the other providing lower nighttime rates for the entire household. These options will reduce the cost of recharging most plug-ins from around $1.10 to between 51 and 61 cents.

GreentechMedia notes that the second plan offers a unique policy option for homeowners, charging flexible rates throughout the day and year, potentially allowing homeowners to maximize their savings on electricity intensive tasks.