Commissioner Gordon Glass talks about driving 6,000 miles in an electric vehicle

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FARMINGTON — The Farmington Public Utility Commission is recommending possible locations for the city to install electric vehicle charging stations.

The commission previously voted in favor of purchasing five charging stations. Four of them would be available for public use while the other would be used to charge city vehicles.

The Farmington City Council must make the ultimate decisions on purchasing the charging stations and locating them throughout the city.

The Public Utility Commission also recommends the city charge $1.25 per hour to charge at those stations.

Commissioner Gordon Glass asked how many members of the commission own electric vehicles. Glass was the sole member who has an electric vehicle.

"Overwhelmingly, I think it's people who are coming from out of town who are likely to use this," Glass said.

He said Farmington residents who own electric vehicles will likely charge their vehicles at their houses due to convenience and price. Because the charging stations will likely be used by tourists or people coming to shop, Glass said location makes a difference. He shared experiences from a recent 6,000 mile trip he took in an electric vehicle.

More: Electric vehicles are gaining popularity, prompting Farmington to consider charging stations

In one community, Glass said there was a charging station with the capability of charging six vehicles at a time. This charging station was in a parking lot in front of a closed store.

"We parked our car in the middle of an empty parking lot and ate and went to a mall across the street," he said. "But it does show the risk of putting it in a place where the business may not be sustained or the use may not be sustained."

One possibility discussed was partnering with private industry to place a charging station in the East Main Street shopping corridor.

Other locations discussed include a location on North Allen Avenue in downtown Farmington, the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, the Farmington Public Library and Berg Park.

Many commissioners said they preferred having a charging station at Berg Park rather than at the library or East Main Street because of the park’s proximity to hotels and the river trail.

“It’s my thought that we’ll never have to install another unit again,” said Commissioner Tory Larsen.

He said he anticipates private businesses will be encouraged by the city’s efforts and will begin placing charging stations on their properties.

Because the charging stations will mainly cater to people from out of town, the commission was divided on who should pay for the charging stations if not enough people use them.

Commissioner Chris Hunter proposed that the city could reimburse the electric utility on an annual basis if there are not enough people charging vehicles. He suggested using gross receipt tax revenue from the Community Transformation and Economic Development fund.  Four of the other commissioners supported his proposal.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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