New Albany residents could have access to two electric-vehicle charging stations within the city this fall.
City staff members earlier this year had applied to AEP Ohio to be eligible for its program, which has the goal of reducing carbon footprints and supporting sustainability, city spokesman Scott McAfee said. The program requires that charging stations must be installed by AEP Ohio on municipally owned property, according to a legislative report to New Albany City Council.
City Council on June 16 voted 7-0 to table until July 7 a resolution authorizing City Manager Joe Stefanov to enter into an agreement and contracts with AEP Ohio for the project. Council wanted to have the ordinance rewritten to reflect two stations instead of the four that initially were proposed.
The original resolution proposed four stations in two locations. Council members decided to forgo the two stations proposed for the parking lot in front of the city’s public-services department building, 7800 Bevelhymer Road, because of concerns about the lack of traffic in the area.
Council members expressed support for installing two charging stations behind the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, 150 W. Main St., near Rose Run Park.
Those stations would be able to charge a vehicle in 30 minutes for a 100-mile travel radius, McAfee said, and would have a total cost of about $150,000.
The charging stations would be installed by autumn, McAfee said.
Once the stations are installed, the city would receive a rebate covering a majority of the cost, estimated at $156,000, McAfee said. That cost also would include a five-year technology-maintenance agreement. A final total cost figure is expected to be available for the July 7 meeting.
The locations for the stations were chosen based on City Council feedback, and payment for charging vehicles would be done via a credit-card-based system, Stefanov said.
The city has not yet established pricing for using the stations, McAfee said.
“We will reach out to local communities that are further along in the process to find out what they charge and make a recommendation to council,” he said.
The city will use the ChargePoint app for using the charging stations. The app includes options for making reservations and virtually waiting in line, he said.
Mark Berndt, director of business development with AEP Ohio, said the pilot program was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in 2018 as a four-year program and will run through summer 2022.
AEP Ohio was approved to deploy $9.5 million over four years in electric-vehicle charging stations. The money is expected to fund 75 DC charging stations, as well as 300 stations that are less powerful, called “level 2” charging stations, he said.
The program is designed so that such customers as the city of New Albany can apply to the program and, once approved, build the stations, Berndt said. After the stations are built, the customers get reimbursed for the costs via rebates, he said. AEP Ohio has different levels of cost reimbursement based on the type of customer, such as a municipality, a business or an apartment complex.
Berndt said the $9.5 million in funding has been “largely fully subscribed,” meaning that enough customers have been approved to participate in the program that the funding will be allocated via rebates to customers once the stations are built.
The program is designed to collect statistics on how often a charging station is used, Berndt said, although personal data of station users will not be collected.
Many other cities in central Ohio are participating in the program, Berndt said, as well as private companies, stores and restaurants.
“The program’s been a real success from our standpoint,” he said.
In other matters, council heard a first reading of an ordinance to adopt the tax budget for the city’s fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2021.
According to the legislative report, the projected general-fund revenue for the 2021 tax budget is $23.52 million, a decrease from 2019 actual revenue of $25.63 million and 2020 estimated revenue of $23.52 million. The main component affecting the estimates is income-tax revenue, which city leaders believe will continue to be affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus into 2021, according to the report.
Funding estimates are conservative, said finance director Bethany Staats.
A second reading and public hearing is scheduled for July 7.