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Council Approves "Overstay" Fee at EV Charging Stations

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By Jorge Casuso

January 15, 2020 -- Come spring, electric vehicle drivers in Santa Monica who overstay the time limit posted at public charging stations will face a $1-per-minute fine.

The measure, approved by the City Council Tuesday, will ensure turnover at the charging stations, whose number is expected to a jump from the existing 140 public stations to 300 by the end of the year.

The new overstay regulations will go into effect 30 days after a second reading of the ordinance in late February.

The Council also took steps to impose a per kWh user fee at the stations, which are currently free. The new fee will be included in the June budget after a study is conducted.

The new fees are expected to help the City cover the cost of operating the charging stations, which is expected to increase from $150,000 to $405,000 a year in December.

Under the ordinance approved Tuesday, after a ten-minute grace period, drivers will be charged $1 a minute up to $53, the cost of a standard parking overstay citation.

“We’ve always told EV drivers you’ll get a charge out of Santa Monica, and so many have taken us up on that offer that we need to create charging turnover to provide fairer access,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown.

“While we’re making our 140 existing chargers more available, Santa Monica also will be doubling our public chargers by the end of this year, which means more charging opportunities in more of our neighborhoods.”

When drivers begin a charging session, they will be notified of the charge through signage at the stations and through text notifications on their cell phones.

In addition to imposing an "overstay" charge, the Council voted to replace outdated stations with updated technology to increase access to public EV charging.

The newer technology, which is currently used in about half of the 140 existing stations, use ChargePoint software to inform drivers of their charge level, which local stations are available, when their posted time expires and to collect payment.

Over the next two years the new technology will be phased in at all the stations to create a uniform network.

The Council also made it a priority to install public chargers as money becomes available and to find ways to encourage their installation in multifamily housing and businesses.

Santa Monica is one of the few City that provides free charging, yet EV use is higher in than in most U.S. cities.

The number of vehicles registered in the city has doubled since 2016 to 2,667, or 3.8 percent of all registered vehicles, staff said.

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