Connecticut lawmakers are considering whether to penalize people who illegally park at a public electric vehicle charging station.
The General Assembly's Judiciary Committee has scheduled a public hearing on Monday to hear testimony on a bill that would make it an infraction, typically punishable by a fine, for parking a vehicle that's not a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or battery electric vehicle at a charging station.
There is a similar bill before the Planning and Development Committee that would impose a $150 fine for violators. Repeat offenders would face a $250 penalty.
Under the bill before the Judiciary Committee, owners or operators of public electric vehicle charging stations would be allowed to impose restrictions on the amount of time that an electric vehicle may be left charging at the station.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there are more than 400 of these public charging stations in the state. Some are in prime locations, while others are tucked away in mall parking lots.
For electric vehicle drivers on a trip it’s vital that they can stop and charge at public stations, but sometimes the spots are filled by drivers of non-electric cars.
“I think I’ve encountered many instances when I come in and there are other cars parked here," said Bloomfield resident Hamlet Aguilar.
Aguilar said charging his Tesla Model S takes about 40 minutes, which could be significantly delayed if other drivers are taking up the spot.
“You have to sit around and wait. Either you have to, sometimes the person is not even here. So, you know, that could set your day back a couple of hours depending on how long that person comes to take vehicle away," Aguilar said.
According to the PluginSites blog, there are nine states including Massachusetts and Rhode Island that allow these spots to be reserved.