City considers electric vehicle charging ports

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission discussed the potential for placing electric vehicle chargers within municipal limits to get ahead of anticipated transportation technology trends and to take advantage of possible funding opportunities, Tuesday.

“There’s a timeline on this,” said City Project Engineer Ted Lozier. “We talked about the electronic vehicle charging stations a few meetings back. We put together an application and submitted it to AEP (American Electric Power). We worked with them to put together a package that would be 100 percent of the installation and the DC chargers and the five-year service contract that goes with these charges to be covered. We’d have to front the money to do it but we’d be reimbursed all those dollars.”

Lozier said the city had submitted an application and was pre-approved for AEP to reserve $150,000 in funding to potentially go towards two charging stations.

“At first, I was thinking one because when you consider how many electric vehicles there are in the community or region but the description of the incremental cost of putting in a second, the way it was described was minimal,” said Lozier. “It’s like $80,000 to $95,000 for one and then the other is about fifty to sixty, depending on how much effort it takes to bring in the power and so forth.”

“The way I see it, we’ll never get another opportunity to get the charging stations for free,” said Lozier. “AEP indicated that they’ve pretty much saturated the market in the terms of what they wanted to accomplish. They’re diminishing the monies available and once they’re dried up I doubt they’ll reinstate the program.”

The engineer said that those looking for charging ports could often find them utilizing apps on a smartphone. City Solicitor Brynn Noe said she knew individuals who owned electric vehicles who planned entire trips around the locations of such charging stations.

Reportedly, the DC charger being proposed for the project could charge a vehicle in around an hour.

“We can charge for the charge and we will work with AEP to determine what that reasonable cost is to get reimbursed for the city,” said Lozier. “The idea is to get to the point where it doesn’t cost the city anything to have these in place. I’m still working on details with them.”

Lozier said AEP would reserve the money up until January.

Commissioner Tony Gallagher asked City Clerk Annette Landers if the city had the money for such a project.

Landers said she and colleagues had been considering options and that the project could potentially be financed by getting a loan, paying for the project with the loan, then getting reimbursed for the project and paying remaining interest for the loan and bond counsel costs.

“It would be something for a public purpose that could help the residents and others coming in and help with tourism,” said Landers. “If they’re right here, they may go shopping (as they wait to charge a vehicle).”

City Manager Gene Greene said the city may place the chargers in its municipal building parking lot in the downtown area of Gallipolis.

Officials discussed how a price would be set and Lozier advised that it was prudent to observe the regional pricing of other facilities to promote financial returns.

“We don’t want to be subsidizing these things long-term,” said Lozier.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.

By Dean Wright