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Bennington gets grant for electric car chargers

BENNINGTON — The town, along with five others, has received grant money to purchase and install charging stations for electric cars and hybrids.

Bennington was awarded $22,000 from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources for two charging stations to be installed on town-owned land.

Michael Harrington, Bennington’s economic and community development director, said a number of details have yet to be worked out, such as where the charging stations will go, and how, or if, electric car owners will pay to use them.

Two possible locations are near the Town Office on South Street, or the municipal parking lot off Pleasant Street, near the Green Mountain Express bus station. The charging stations resemble air pumps found at many gas stations, he said. It is thought they will be put between two parking spots, as a charge can take up to two hours to complete.

Some town-owned stations simply absorb the cost of electricity, but depending on how often they are used payment options can be worked out. Harrington said some communities contract with a third party, which publicizes the locations of charging stations and issues charge cards.

The grant requires a 25 percent match from the town, he said, but that can come through in-kind services, likely in the form of installation preparations. Harrington said the stations do not need monitoring, and are self-serve.

Because the Select Board signed off on the grant application, no further approval should be needed unless the town, for some unforeseen reason, has to contribute more than the 25 percent match.

When the stations will be installed is unknown, said Harrington. The hope is to have them in by the end of this year, but the Agency of Natural Resources has suggested the towns awarded the grants have talks with each other to see if the stations can be purchased in bulk, thereby saving money.
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