Grant sought for improvements to EV charging in Beacon Falls

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An electric vehicle charging unit can be seen in the commuter parking lot at 107 North Main St. in Beacon Falls. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

BEACON FALLS — Town officials are looking to apply for an electric vehicle charging station grant to upgrade the town’s existing unit.

Board of Selectmen members said they planned to apply for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s ZEV Infrastructure Program EVSE Grant.

The town has a roughly 8-year-old level 2 EV charging unit at the commuter parking lot, 107 North Main St. The station was funded almost entirely by a previous DEEP EVSE grant in 2014.

“Both the federal government as well as the state of Connecticut have begun an intensive program to build as many electric vehicle charging stations everywhere,” Selectman Michael Krenesky said.

Michael A. Krenesky. Archives

First Selectman Gerard Smith said two new level 2 charging stations and the installation of the new electric infrastructure would cost about $150,000. The grant is a 25% matching grant or about $37,500.

The town doesn’t require residents to pay for a charge, but town officials could require payments to cover the electricity costs while not making a profit, Smith said.

“Lately, it’s definitely utilized,” Beacon Hose Company No. 1 Fire Chief Brian DeGeorge said. “There’s probably a solid five regulars.”

Krenesky said one reason for putting in a new station is that the current station doesn’t have the network capabilities for town officials to build.

“This one comes complete with the network services to be monitoring it. It actually give us a little better reporting on what’s going on with the station, where today all we’re monitoring is how much electricity we use,” Krenesky said. “So we don’t really know anything else that’s going on.”

Town officials are required to put a maintenance plan together under the program, which is already built into the cost. It’s about $3,000 for a five-year contract. The town would be funding the electric cost for the first three years of the program.

“We never instituted a fee schedule so we could be charging people to be plugged in,” Krenesky said.

Town officials have until Sept. 30 to apply for the grant.

Smith said the two new charging station units will be faster and more efficient.