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Electric car charging station to soon go live in St. Charles

ST. CHARLES – A new electric vehicle charging station will be up and running soon in St. Charles, according to a presentation by city staff about green initiatives during Monday’s Government Services Committee meeting.

Tom Bruhl, electric services manager with the city, said the charging station was installed on the fourth floor of the parking deck on First Street last Friday, but the city is waiting for a ribbon-cutting
ceremony before it goes live.

The charging station, which is a ChargePoint brand, has two connections for electric vehicles to charge while parked in the parking deck.

Bruhl said it cost about $13,000 to install the charging station, but a Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant will help offset about $6,500 of the cost in the form of a rebate.

Bruhl said ChargePoint offers a mobile application that allows users with electric vehicles to locate the nearest charging station, which also notes whether the station is in use.

“If people are driving through, it’s an incentive to stop,” he said, noting that ChargePoint gives detailed reports about how many distinct users utilize the charging station. “It helps from an economic development standpoint whether it’s bringing people in.”

The station has a two-hour charging limit, and Bruhl said he hopes that encourages electric car owners to do some shopping or stop into a restaurant while waiting for a charge.

He said the city pays for the electricity used for charging vehicles, and at 8 cents a kilowatt, it would cost the city about 64 cents for each two-hour charge.

“That’s if somebody’s car is totally depleted,” he said.

In other business, the Government Services Committee approved an agreement with Verizon to place five or six “mini-cell” sites on telephone poles in areas where service can be improved.

Verizon would pay $250, plus any electrical usage, each month for placing the mini-cells on various poles. Bruhl said a control power box would be added to each pole in addition to a small cell tower at the top of the pole.

Public Services Manager Chris Adesso gave the committee an update on an emerald ash borer mitigation program that’s slated to conclude in spring 2014.

He said the city is close to completing its goal of removing 3,000 infected parkway trees and replacing them one-for-one with a more diverse population of trees.

He said about 420 ash trees are still left in city rights of way that are in good or fair condition.

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