A high penetration of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) can lead to stress and overload in distribution systems when uncoordinated charging is considered. Thus, coordination mechanisms to manage PHEV charging during peak periods are needed. This paper evaluates the impact of PHEVs in the residential distribution grid and proposes a coordination mechanism based on heuristic rules as a load shaping tool. The impact of the mechanism on user convenience is also studied, and the benefits of having a renewable generation system is examined. Results show that our coordination mechanism is able to prevent the overloading of the distribution transformer. Further, it has been found that the performance of the renewable system (e.g., renewable fraction and renewable cost ratio) depend on many factors such as weather, region, equipment specification, and user preference. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.