Burlington Electric Department Introduces New Pole-Mounted, Electric Vehicle Chargers to Improve Charging Access

BED Also Seeks Input on Locations for Additional Public EV Chargers

Burlington, VT – Burlington Electric Department (BED) today shared the locations of five new utility pole-mounted electric vehicle (EV) chargers within the Burlington community. The goals of the pole-mounted charger pilot program, which was supported with State of Vermont grant funds, are to:

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  • Improve access to EV chargers, particularly for renters and those who lack access to off-street parking;
  • Determine whether additional public chargers in those neighborhoods lead to increased EV ownership;
  • Increase EV charger use over time;
  • Test the durability and maintenance requirements of the pole-mounted EV chargers; and
  • Evaluate customer and community satisfaction.

BED also is advancing a pilot community EV charging rate for these chargers to help residents get lower-cost EV charging at these locations during off-peak times, similar to BED’s residential EV charging rate. Also today, BED announced that it is seeking community input on locations for additional public EV chargers throughout the City, including Level 3 fast chargers, Level 2 dual-port, ground-mounted chargers, and potentially additional pole-mounted Level 2 chargers. Input is welcome from Burlingtonians and anyone interested in seeing increased public EV charging in Burlington at burlingtonelectric.com/newchargers.

“We are focused on breaking down barriers to make EV charging and EV ownership available to even more Burlingtonians, and these new, pole-mounted chargers aim to expand these opportunities into Burlington’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak. “As we continue to focus on climate, it is important that affordable and accessible EV charging options are available to every Burlington resident, and this pilot program will help us in advancing progress toward that goal.”

“Our new pole-mounted EV chargers will help expand access and convenience to enable more Burlington residents to be able to make the switch from fossil fuels to electric vehicles,” said Darren Springer, BED General Manager. “Driving electric in Burlington means fueling with 100 percent

renewable energy at a lower cost per gallon equivalent than buying gasoline. And driving electric keeps more of your dollars local in Vermont’s economy. I offer special thanks to the Department of Public Works team and the Public Works Commission for their significant support in making our pole-mounted charger pilot a reality and to the Vermont Agency for Commerce and Community Development for providing the grant funding.”

“ACCD is thrilled to provide the funds to help make such an exciting and innovative project happen,” said Lindsay Kurrle, Secretary of the Vermont Agency for Commerce and Community Development. “Curbside EV charging in walkable neighborhoods with lots of multiunit and rental housing maximizes the number of Burlington residents who are able to benefit from the investment and increases the likelihood the equipment will be used in the very near term.”

Pole-Mounted EV Charger Locations

To help break down barriers to EV charging, BED applied for and secured a State of Vermont grant to purchase and install five EV chargers mounted 10 to 12 feet in the air on utility poles in eligible neighborhoods. The decision to pursue the grant was spurred originally by a request from a City Councilor to expand on-street EV charging options in their ward in response to constituent feedback.

Working with the Department of Public Works (DPW), BED identified the following five street parking space locations at which to pilot this new program:

  • In front of 39 Front Street;
  • In front of 11 Spruce Street;
  • In front of 33-35 Intervale Avenue;
  • In front of 33 Murray Street; and
  • Across from 141 Maple Street.

The Front Street, Spruce Street, and Intervale Avenue chargers are operational, and the Murray Street and Maple Street chargers are scheduled to be operational today and on June 18, respectively.

Pole-mounted charger on Spruce Street.

Selection Process with Public Input

To select locations and ensure that the chargers would serve income-eligible customers, BED mapped housing patterns in Burlington against average household income and proposed five neighborhoods as a part of its State grant application. Within those neighborhoods, BED worked with DPW to identify five specific proposed parking places that met the conditions for lighting, grid connection feasibility, and space/access considerations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. DPW conducted community outreach for the five sites initially proposed and, after receiving concerns about one proposed location, substituted another location and offered further opportunity for community input. The locations and parking changes to accommodate the pole-mounted EV charger locations were discussed with public input opportunities during Public Works Commission meetings.

Evaluation of Pilot Program

To evaluate the pole-mounted chargers pilot program, BED will apply the following evaluation metrics:

  • Utilization levels of the pole-mounted chargers, including changing use over time;
  • Available demographic data of individuals using the chargers; and
  • Comparison of charging data from the pilot program with similar data from other charging options in Burlington.

BED has committed, pursuant to the grant, to maintain the pole-mounted chargers in service for five years, although the chargers can be relocated based on pilot program experience.

To access the new pole-mounted EV chargers, EV drivers will need to create an online account with AmpUp by visiting ampup.io or the App Store to initiate charging sessions. Instructions are attached to the utility poles and available through instructional videos found at burlingtonelectric.com/newchargers. A $0.21 per kWh charge will apply during on-peak hours, which is the equivalent of approximately $1.75 per gallon of gas. The Burlington City Council, at its June 3 meeting, approved BED’s proposal to offer a lower rate for EV charging during off-peak hours. The proposed off-peak tariff next will be considered by the Public Utility Commission. No other charges shall apply at these five locations.

BED Seeks Input on Locations for Additional Public EV Chargers

As BED works to make EV charging easier and more accessible in Burlington, BED is seeking input from the Burlington community and visitors to Burlington about where BED should install new EV charging stations that will be open to the public. BED plans to install additional public EV chargers throughout the City, including Level 3 fast chargers, Level 2 dual-port, ground-mounted chargers, and potentially additional utility pole-mounted chargers. Everyone – renters, homeowners, business owners, people who already drive EVs, and those who may drive EVs in the future – is invited to share their ideas for helpful public EV charger locations.

GM Springer added: “BED is excited to hear from the community about where we should locate future EV charging. Burlingtonians and visitors to our City who are driving or plan to drive EVs have so many good ideas to offer for EV charging locations. We look forward to evaluating their ideas and adding to our growing EV charging options to help make driving electric a reality for more and more drivers in Burlington.”

BED especially is interested in sites that are:

  • Near places frequented by Burlingtonians and visitors to the City, such as shops, restaurants, schools, parks, and community centers;
  • In high-density, residential areas near homes where residents may not have access to off-street parking or “at-home” charging;
  • Well-lit; and
  • Close to CarShare Vermont parking spots, Green Mountain Transit stops, or other transportation hubs.

Suggestions may include public or private parking lots or on-street locations with angled, not parallel, parking. Locations must allow EV chargers to be available to the public 24 hours per day, seven days per week. BED will pay for all charger installation and maintenance for BED-owned public chargers. EV drivers will pay for charging under BED’s public EV charging tariff. BED will consider all ideas and evaluate them based on the above criteria, as well as the adequacy of on-site electric infrastructure and the possibility for future expansion.

To share potential EV charging locations, please visit burlingtonelectric.com/newchargers.