Agawam City Council considers resolution to charge electric vehicle owners at city charging stations

Hampden County

AGAWAM, Mass. (SHNS/WWLP) – Want to juice up your electric vehicle at one of the public charging stations in Agawam? It could soon cost you.

The Agawam City Council recently voted 9-1 to approve the first reading of a resolution that would charge electric vehicle owners 60 cents per kilowatt-hour to use the city’s charging stations. Agawam has a total of seven such stations that are currently free to use, and officials had previously discussed a fee of $1 per kilowatt-hour in order to offset the city’s subscription and upkeep costs.

Councilor Dino Mercadante said the reduction in the proposed rate was an attempt to encourage use of the stations without requiring taxpayers to subsidize their costs.

“You have to find that happy medium to allow the vehicles to start flourishing, to move in that direction, and then that will bring the demand rate down and make the bottom line more competitive,” he said.

Mercadante added, “Nobody subsidizes anybody who has an eternal combustion engine. When they go to the pump they have to pay. And when a person goes to a charging station, they got to pay.”

Zero-emission vehicles, including electric cars and trucks, are a major part of the Baker administration’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy.

Meeting the administration’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 will “require that about 1 million of the 5.5 million [passenger vehicles] projected to be registered in the Commonwealth in 2030 be” zero-emission vehicles, the administration said in its 2050 decarbonization plan, which also calls for a requirement that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in Massachusetts be zero-emission vehicles starting in 2035.

The only councilor to vote against the resolution in Agawam was Mario Tedeschi, who said he believes the city should charge something to use the stations, but that the proposed rate is too high compared to residential electricity costs.

“Is it such a convenience that someone is going to pay two or three times more because the electricity is so much faster and so much more convenient at the dog park?” he said Monday.

Councilor Robert Rossi was absent for the vote. The Council will vote on a second reading of the resolution at its next meeting, at which point it will take effect if approved.

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