The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved the installation of free charging stations on village property at a meeting on Thursday, June 17.
Councilwoman Selena Samios pulled the item from the consent agenda to ask about the conditions of the agreement with Florida Power & Light.
“Does this mean that it’s open to the public?” Samios asked Village Manager Ray Liggins, and Liggins said that they would be.
“This is about charging stations for electric vehicles,” Liggins said. “This agreement is only for the Village Hall property. When we designed the building, which went out to bid last week, this provides the infrastructure to support that. FPL puts it in at no cost. It’s a seven-year agreement that can be extended for three one-year terms up to 10 years. For them to put it in, we have to agree to supply the power for it, and we will do it as part of the power agreement for Village Hall.”
Liggins explained that electric vehicles are alternative options for drivers now, and it is anticipated that their use will be greater as their price goes down.
“It’s expensive right now, but I think sometime in the future, they say by 2040, most cars are going to be electric,” he said. “This helps that transition.”
He explained that about six months ago, the village approved an ordinance laying out conditions of approval for the installation of charging stations on private and commercial property. At its last strategic planning session, the council had discussed in reference to the potential loss of gas tax revenue as more people switch to electric vehicles.
“We do get franchise fees and utility taxes from the sale of power,” Liggins noted. “If 25 percent of the vehicles in Royal Palm Beach went electric, that does make up for the loss of revenue from gas taxes, so it’s not a loss for us as we transition to electric vehicles.”
He said it would be to the village’s advantage to support making that transition more quickly, which will be better for the environment and traffic.
“In that process of converting, anything we can do to make it go quicker is not a bad thing,” Liggins said. “That’s why we’re recommending you do it.”
Samios clarified that the village does not have to pay for the installation, which is free for the public to use.
“While they’re here, they can use the charging station?” Samios asked.
“That’s correct,” Liggins said. “My guess is that somewhere in the period of this agreement, our code enforcement and inspection vehicles will be replaced with electric vehicles.”
“So, we’re entering the path of transition,” Mayor Fred Pinto said. “This is a way of moving that transition forward. We’ll see what happens when we get down the road.”
Samios made a motion to approve the agreement, which carried 5-0.