Drop the Pump and Charge It

Two Connecticut companies plan to build almost 300 electric car plug-in stations

If you thought electric cars were still a bit of a novelty in Connecticut, just wait until you see stations to plug them in the centers of West Hartford, New Haven and Litchfield, your office garage and even the neighbor’s house.

Two Northeast Utilities subsidiaries want to build 575 charging stations in Connecticut and Massachusetts over the next two years to help turn drivers from pumping up to plugging in.

Connecticut Light & Power and Western Massachusetts Electric are in the early stages of building the $1.4 million network and are looking to the U.S. Department of Energy for a grant to pay $693,750 – or half. 

"Plug-in hybrids and other electric vehicles are going to be important components of our green energy future, but they won't work without a network of charging stations,” Philip Giudice, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, said. “I applaud Northeast Utilities for looking into the future and making this initial proposal to meet that need in their service territories."
Northeast Utilities’ version of the future would put charging stations at homes, workplaces and in publicly-accessible sites in the companies’ current service territories.

The purveyors of plug-in power are getting some help in deciding which communities will look Jetson-esque first – the Hanna-Barbera space-age family from the now-classic cartoon.

New England-based Environment Northeast, the town of West Hartford, and the Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition are helping with aspects of the project including location selection and results monitoring.

Michael Stoddard, deputy director of Environment Northeast, said the availability of electric cars would depend on “how "plug-in ready" our states and communities are.”

DOE is expected to make a decision on the grant in June.

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