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Westport implements electric vehicle charging fees

Westport+will+charge+electric+vehicle+drivers+fees+at+35+charging+stations+across+town+and+railroad+lots%2C+with+a+rate+of+35+cents+per+kilowatt-hour+and+an+additional+idling+fee+at+certain+locations%2C+to+promote+sustainable+and+economically+viable+EV+use.
Lily Rimm ’25
Westport will charge electric vehicle drivers fees at 35 charging stations across town and railroad lots, with a rate of 35 cents per kilowatt-hour and an additional idling fee at certain locations, to promote sustainable and economically viable EV use.

Charging electric vehicles at public stations in Westport will soon come with a cost, as the town prepares to implement fees starting March 11. 

This decision, approved in December, initially planned to launch with downtown parking limits and fees

Under the new system, users will pay 35 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the first three hours of charging, with a $10 per hour idling charge after to discourage prolonged use of EV parking spaces. 

The fees will apply to various locations across town, including two charging stations at town hall, two at the library, 12 at the Bladwin parking lot, the Center for Senior Activities  lot and the two at the fire department. Following a 15-minute grace period, users will incur an additional idling fee of $10 per hour.  The intention is to dissuade individuals from occupying charging spaces beyond the specified time frame.

Similarly, the Westport and Greens Farms railroad stations will also implement a 35 cents per kWh charge, but without an idling fee. This exception is due to the commuting nature of vehicle owners at these stations, most of whom pay a railroad parking permit fee, making it impractical for them to relocate their vehicles beyond the initial three-hour limit. 

Westport was one of the first communities to install electric vehicle chargers around 2010, even though there were only six registered electric vehicles in town by 2011. As of July 2023, there were 1,447 registered electric vehicles in town. (Liora Perkins ’25)

 

Students and teachers at Staples who drive electric cars will be affected by these changes, as they utilize charging stations across the town. However, the charging stations at the Saugatuck and Greens Farms train stations will operate under a separate plan, with the same kWh rate but without an idling fee for permit holders. 

“The fees were most likely inevitable given the growing population of electric vehicles. However, if I was thinking about buying an electric vehicle to reduce my expenses on gas, this might deter me away from making the purchase,” Noah Wolff ’25 said.

Because Westport was an early adopter of electric vehicle chargers in the region, with installations dating back to 2010, the town saw an increase in electric vehicle registrations by July 2023, reaching 1,447 vehicles, accounting for about 7% of all vehicles in the town. 

Fees for charging vehicles will be 35 cents per kwh for the first three (3) hours. After a 15-minute grace period, users will be charged an idling fee of $10 per hour. This is intended to discourage individuals from occupying charging spaces beyond 3 hours. (Liora Perkins ’25)

Electric Vehicle charging stations will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Users can make payments through QR codes displayed on the charging unit or via a third-party app. The strategic design of the plan aims to ensure competitiveness with other charging stations in the region while concurrently offering a sustainable and economically viable choice for electric vehicle owners.

The charging fees, which aim to align with rates at other stations in the area, are going to remain cost-effective and sustainable. Westport officials stress the importance of offering affordable and accessible charging options to encourage more people to switch to electric vehicles. 

“We believe that electric vehicles are the way of the future, and by offering affordable and accessible charging options, we hope to encourage more people to switch to electric vehicles.” First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker said according to Westportct.gov. “This is a positive step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future for our town.”

 

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Liora Perkins '25, Web Opinions Editor
Web Opinions Editor Liora Perkins ’25 maintains a hectic schedule; juggling her dedication to Inklings, academics and dance.  Perkins thrives best in her hectic routine. For as long as Perkins can remember, she has been a dancer.   "I love dancing because of its great environment and community," Perkins said.  Similar to dance, Inklings have given Perkins a strong sense of community and passion. According to her, common interests create the strongest communities. She enjoys working with opinion pieces and reading people's viewpoints.  “I like the freedom Inklings gives me,” Perkins said. “I write about what I am interested in.”   

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