NORTHFIELD — The next rural Franklin County town in line to have a public electric vehicle charging station installed may be Northfield, following a Monday Selectboard meeting in which members settled on a host agreement with Eversource.
The agreement will see Eversource provide power to the charging station, which will be installed by the parking spaces at the right of Town Hall. The charger could service two vehicles at once.
“My push behind this was to further show that we’re a Green Community,” Selectboard Chair Alex Meisner said. “Having an electric vehicle charging station on town property shows your commitment to that.”
Town Administrator Andrea Llamas said Northfield hopes to be included in the latest round of charging station applications through the energy company.
“How fast we actually get the charger in place is going to depend on a number of things,” she said.
First, the town has to purchase the actual charging station. Llamas said Northfield will pay the insurance for the charger, as well as a fee for the software. The town also needs to set up an account to collect the money received when people use the charging stations.
During Annual Town Meeting, residents will have to vote to approve transferring unused money from Town Hall electrical projects to be used for the charging station. If the transfer is approved, Northfield will be able to officially purchase the charger and move forward.
While the initial station would be a dual charger, allowing two vehicles to be connected at one time, Llamas said Northfield is requesting the charging station have the capacity for more than the two vehicles, should the town want to add more chargers there in the future.
Meisner said he regularly sees Teslas, Chevrolet Volts and Toyota Priuses — which he knows don’t belong to Northfield residents — driving through Northfield. He thought having a charging station at Town Hall could be a good way to encourage these drivers to stop, charge up and spend time in town.
In Franklin County, there are several electric vehicle chargers in Greenfield, one at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, and a few were recently installed in Turners Falls. Beyond the center of the county, chargers can be found in Athol, Shelburne Falls and at Berkshire East in Charlemont, according to plugshare.com, which maps the locations of public charging stations.
While the cost for installation, maintenance and what Northfield will charge for use have yet to be determined, the price of using chargers in Montague is 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, and Montague Town Planner Walter Ramsey has said this is a normal price when compared to other nearby towns.Zack DeLuca can be reached at email@example.com or 413-930-4579.