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USA: Watertown drops electric-vehicle charging stations proposal

The city has pulled the plug on installing an electric-vehicle charging station in a municipal parking lot.

City Attorney Robert J. Slye concluded that the charging station would violate the state constitution, saying electric-vehicle owners would receive electricity for free under a state program through power giant National Grid.

The city would have supplied the electricity for the electric vehicles. Municipalities are not allowed to provide cash or items of value for free, according to the state constitution.

In a memo to the Watertown City Council on Friday, Mr. Slye recommended that the city not pursue the state grant because “it conflicts with the state constitution” under the provision that a municipality “shall not give or loan any money or property to or in aid of any individual, corporation or association, or private undertaking.”

Under the state-sponsored program, electric-vehicle owners would get free electricity by simply plugging into a public charging station.
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