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National Grid proposes car charging stations

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: National Grid proposes car charging stations
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Electric cars are still few and far between on the roads, but many cities have taken steps to encourage ownership by installing car charging stations. It's a decision that the city of Watertown may soon be facing, but as our Carmella Mataloni reports, it will have to get past several skeptics.

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- In the never-ending push to go green, the city of Watertown is facing a proposal that begs the question, is it smart economics?

"What are we doing here other than spending state money?" said Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham.

National Grid came to the city with a state sponsored program that would offer electric car owners free electricity by plugging into a public charging station. The idea is to install these stations at city owned parking lot, but with so few electric cars on the road here, city officials are not all sold.

"It's nice to be neighborly and I understand driving these cars you can get caught short without electricity somewhere and be looking for a place to plug it in," said Mayor Graham.

Davidson Chevrolet has two stations. One at their car lot and one at their collision center, both free for public use. Officials say right now that might be enough.

"I think it's worthwhile to have them, but they are already provided in the private sector. You can go up to Davidson Chevrolet and see two of them sitting there and I don't see people lined up to get at them," said Mayor Graham.

The city would have to pay for some of the installation fees and the monthly electric bill.
While council member Jeffery Smith is a supporter of environmental improvement, he says that since they don't pay for people's gas, they shouldn't pay for this.

"I like the idea of the infrastructure of having the charging or fueling station in the city, but I don't think the tax payers should be paying for it," said Jeffery Smith, City Council member.

But it’s all about getting to know new technology, and National Grid hopes it will urge more people to go green. No decision was made on the project yet, but will be discussed at the next work session.

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