Members of the public who spend a lot of time in Southold Town may soon have access to most of the town’s electric car charging stations, and the town is also looking to create more stations for public use.
The Southold Town Board plans to pursue grants from the New York State Energy and Research Development Agency (NYSERDA) that would allow the town to install more charging stations at the state agency’s expense.
Southold’s Human Services Director, Karen McLaughlin, who has been aggressively updating the human services fleet of vehicles, along with Town Comptroller John Cushman, pitched the program to the town board at a work session Oct. 6.
Mr. Cushman said the town can install a ChargePoint credit card swiping machine, which also takes PayPal, at the charging stations.
The town is considering charging members of the public a flat fee of $2 for up to four hours at the charging stations.
Currently, the town has three charging stations, at the Peconic Community School, at the Mattituck Human Resource Center, and at Town Hall in Southold.
Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the town is considering allowing access to the charging station at the Peconic Community School around the clock and at the Town Hall station when Town Hall is closed.
The Human Resource Center station is in constant use.
Ms. McLaughlin said her fleet includes a leased Nissan Leaf electric car, and a Ford C-Max hybrid, and she is considering buying more Nissan Leafs once the lease period ends.
The Human Resource center is also adding conventionally fueled Ford Escapes to the fleet because they are somewhat more reliable than hybrid cars in icy winter conditions.
While the town’s existing charging stations were purchased through NYSERDA grants that required a 15 percent match from the town, Ms. McLaughlin said there are upcoming grant programs that would be fully funded by NYSERDA.
The existing three charging stations cost $36,000, said Ms. McLaughlin, but the town paid just $3,400. She said the stations reduced the time required to charge the electric cars from six hours to two-and-a-half hours.
Mr. Russell said the town is looking into installing charging stations for the public at the visitor information booths on Route 25 at Laurel Lake and near Greenport.
“Public locations are more convenient for people when they’re scattered throughout the town,” he said. “Suffolk County has the highest electric and hybrid use in the State of New York. We expect be able to offset installation costs with grants, and with the ChargePoint system it becomes almost maintenance-free.”
Helicopter Meeting Schedules
Southold’s Helicopter Advisory Committee will hold a public information meeting on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. at the Peconic Recreation Center to update the public on issues relating to helicopter use at the East Hampton Airport.
Mr. Russell said members of the committee will give an overview of the impacts of the helicopter restrictions at the airport this past summer, and update the public on ongoing litigation over those restrictions.
“They’ll give an update on the legal proceedings as best they can,” he said. “It’s not exactly going at a breakneck pace.”