Towns get grants for charging stations

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Commuters in electric cars may soon have two new places to stop and recharge.

Naugatuck and Beacon Falls were both awarded grants to purchase and install an electric vehicle charging station.

The grant program, which is overseen by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, covers the cost of the station and up to $10,000 for its installation.

Naugatuck was approved for up to $9,964, while Beacon Falls was approved for approximately $8,400.

“It’s good for the state, good for the environment and good for everybody,” Beacon Falls First Selectman Christopher Bielik said of the grant. “I’m all for anything we can do to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The charging station in Beacon Falls will be installed in the commuter parking lot near the train station. Bielik expects the placement of the station to have a positive impact on the town.

“It will be convenient for the people charging their cars to explore the town a little. The station will be located near restaurants and the Greenway,” Bielik said.

Bielik said the charging station itself will cost approximately $1,900. The rest of the grant money will go towards the installation, he said.

Bielik said the town has ordered a station from the California-based Broadband TelCom Power. It’s expected to arrive by the end of October, and the town has already put out a request for bids to install it, he said.

“We are getting the site ready so that when we receive the equipment we can just drop it right in,” Bielik said.

According to the grant the charging station has to be installed and running by Nov. 14, a deadline Bielik is sure the town will meet.

Although the borough was approved for the grant, Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo said he’s still looking into whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

“We are still analyzing the cost. It would be an increase in electricity costs for us,” Mezzo said.

Municipalities have to provide the charging station for free to the public for the first two years and bear the electricity costs.

According to information supplied by the Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley, the annual cost to charge a car could range from $260 for a Toyota Prius Hybrid to $3,580 for a Tesla Model S. These numbers are based on using a charging station for one full charge every day for an entire year.

If the borough accepts the grant the charging station would be installed at the train station on Water Street.

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield previously said the town had no plans to apply for the grant.

According to DEEP, the goal of the grant program is to place 30 new electric vehicle charging stations around the state. Currently, the closest charging stations are in Middlebury and Southington.

The program is part of a national goal of putting 3.3 million electrical vehicles on the road. According to hybridcars.com, 250,000 plug-in vehicles have been sold in America as of this month.