Fee May Be Required to Use Longmont’s EV Charging Stations

The Colorado city is considering a $1 hourly fee for those who charge their electric vehicles at city-owned charging stations. The fee will help pay for the cost of owning and maintaining the stations.

(TNS) — Longmont, Colo., Power and Communications staff has suggested the city resume collecting a $1 hourly fee from people who charge their electric vehicles at publicly accessible city EV charging stations.

Longmont's City Council is to review that proposal during a Tuesday night study session.

Longmont owns and operates five such publicly available EV charging stations and has not imposed a fee to people using them since it changed the system connecting four of them in summer 2019.

Those five public stations are outside the St. Vrain Memorial Building at 700 Longs Peak Ave. in the Development Services Center parking lot on the west side of the 300 block of Kimbark Street, in the Longmont Public Library garage between Third and Fourth avenues, outside the Longmont Museum at 400 Quail Road and at the Service Center at 1100 S. Sherman St. The library garage station was installed in September 2020. The other four were in use prior to that.

Each station has two charging ports and is covered by five-year maintenance and repair contracts.

In 2019, Longmont Power and Communications replaced the then-four existing charging stations with ChargePoint stations "to offer our residents a higher quality EV Station with advanced web platform services," staff members wrote to the City Council in a memo for Tuesday's meeting. "At that time, LPC temporarily suspended the $1/hour fee as a means to support the replacement rollout and to reinvigorate usage of the EV stations."

That fee suspension, staff said, was intended to introduce customers to the upgraded stations and technology and revitalize charging activity at the stations.

Staff said, "Unless Council directs otherwise, LPC will resume a $ 1 per hour use fee for public charging stations effective Aug. 1, 2021, which is similar to fees in place by surrounding communities."

Staff said based on last year's use of the now-total five city EV stations, a $1 per hour fee will generate approximately $12,000 per year, which would cover "the cost of owning and operating the existing EV stations and will allow the city to incrementally invest in additional public stations or other EV infrastructure over time."

In addition, staff said, an hourly fee "will encourage customers to move their vehicles when charged, thus freeing up the charger for other vehicles."

In 2020, 342 unique users used the five stations, with 3,714 individual charging sessions. More than 43,000 kilowatt hours of electricity were used to charge EVs at those stations, staff reported.

The average length of charging time at a city public EV station was three to four hours, and staff said a total of 17.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent was saved by having EVs charge at the stations.

In addition to the five city-owned public charging stations, there are more than 65 public and privately owned charging stations within a 10-mile radius of Longmont, city staff said, adding that "a vast percentage of vehicle charging occurs at home or possibly at the workplace."

The staff report said Loveland charges $1 an hour for its four municipally owned EV charging stations; Fort Collins, $1 an hour for its eight municipal charging stations, and Boulder, $1 an hour for its 44 city-owned EV charging stations. Denver has no fee for people charging at its more than 20 municipally owned public EV stations. Nor does Colorado Springs Utilities collect a fee for its 3 municipal charging stations.

Tim Ellis, a Longmont Power and Communications energy strategies and solutions staff manager, said in an email that while Longmont's five city-owned public EV charging stations manufactured by ChargePoint are now available at no fee, customers must create an account with ChargePoint to use those chargers — chargepoint.com/drivers/activate.

"It's a fairly simple process, and the customer can download an app on their phone to access any ChargePoint station thereafter," Ellis said.

He said, "The city does not (have) immediate current plans to install any additional public charging stations this year or next, but we are continually evaluating the opportunity to strategically deploy EV infrastructure as the need arises and makes sense for the citizens of Longmont."

More information is available on the city's "Electric Vehicle Charging Stations" web page, tinyurl.com/y7mup6c7.

If you watch

What: Longmont City Council study session

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Council and city staff members will participate from remote locations. Residents can watch the meeting by clicking "play" on the video link within the interactive agenda window. The mayor will announce when people can call in to comment during the portion of the meeting when the public is invited to be heard.

Agenda: tinyurl.com/4vpyh3yb

(c)2021 the Daily Times-Call (Longmont, Colo.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.