Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Little Village Gets a Charging Station...

East Hampton's historic village center is being put on the map again...the map of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Connecticut, that is.

Congratulations to our little town for:
1. Participating in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge
2. Earning enough points/community rewards to get us a FREE EV (electric vehicle) charging station
3. Reviving the Clean Energy Task Force

The Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Energy Challenge has 14 towns in CT participating and has been going on for about 3 years.  The goal is to get the residents to reduce their energy usage by 20%.  One of the ways people started getting involved was through Home Energy Solutions energy audits, like the one my family did in 2009.  (You can read about my energy audit here.)

By the way, on the leaderboard for participating towns, East Hampton ranks #7 out of 14!  Not too shabby.

Yesterday, July 26th, at 11am, I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Electric Vehicle charging station in the village center of East Hampton.  There are no other charging stations around us for at least 15 miles.  The town's Economic Development Commission worked with the Town Council and the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection in choosing the Airline Trail trail head in East Hampton's village center as the location for the charging station.  The town hopes that the station will draw drivers of electric cars to stop in the village center to charge up and while they do they can frequent the many small businesses in the center, or take advantage of the newly extended Airline Trail for recreational purposes. EV car owners will know about the location of the station because it will be added to the directories of charging stations which comes up right in the car's navigation systems, on apps and online.

Someone pointed out to me yesterday at the ceremony that it's kind of rare that East Hampton is on the cutting edge of something like this, or that we'd be in the category of "Early Adopters" (as it's referred to on the GREEN bell curve) as having a charging station.

The ceremony was short & sweet.  There were a few speeches and Jackson Chevrolet was kind enough to drive over a Chevy Volt electric car to demonstrate the use of the charging station.  Notable attendees included Town Council Chairperson Sue Weintraub, Town Councilman Kyle Dostaler, Town Manager Mike Maniscalco & his assistant, State Senator Art Linares, State Representative Melissa Ziobron, Economic Development Commission representative Jamie Bell, alongside a few residents and media.

So what does it cost to use the charging station?  Right now, it's FREE to users.  I was told the cost was approximately $1.67 to charge the car, or maybe per hour - it wasn't clear exactly, but the cost is pretty minimal.  Eventually the town will likely install a credit card swipe system to the charging station and you'll pay it that way.  I see it as a good thing for the town.  The local businesses in the village center can now add to their websites that they have a charging station nearby, and hopefully anyone coming in to charge will stop and frequent our village merchants.

Congrats, Belltown, for getting a little bit GREENER this week!

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