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JUST A SPARK – SO FAR As electric-powered cars slowly take hold, infrastructure begins to follow

As electric-powered vehicles gain popularity, infrastructure for them will follow.

Charging stations are popular in California, for example.

But how soon before the Greater Lehigh Valley captures a corner of the electric transportation market and people begin to see charging stations popping up in offilvb.comce parking lots?

It’s going to be a while. However, private companies are beginning to offer charging options for employees and utilities are staying on top of the trend – particularly if they identify pockets of customers who charge their cars at home.

“It’s an item that we’re keeping our eye on; at this point it’s not a pinpoint focus for us,” said Scott Surgeoner, spokesman for Met-Ed, an electric company of First Energy Corp., which covers 15 Pennsylvania counties, including Berks, Lehigh and Northampton. “At least at this point, it’s a relatively infant technology. If it grows, that could be a point for us to focus on.”

The company has a technology group that focuses on understanding and researching the latest technology for infrastructure associated with electric-powered vehicles.

Met-Ed also works with the Electric Power Research Institute, a Palo Alto, Calif., based utility consortium geared toward research and development, Surgeoner said.

“It’s much better for us to work on this through a group like EPRI,” Surgeoner said.
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