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Fayetteville PWC prepares for growth in electric vehicles


Members of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission were told Wednesday that the utility should partner with the city and county on the installation of charging stations as the area's transportation evolves from gas vehicles to ones powered by electricity.

In collaboration with Fayetteville and Cumberland County, the PWC would be looking for opportunities to place the charging stations in locations that would be beneficial to everyone with electric vehicles.

It was one of the recommendations the PWC’s electric utility vehicle team reviewed during the PWC board meeting.

Janelle Rockett, key accounts agent with Fayetteville PWC and a former general manager of sales and delivery for the Raleigh and Charlotte dealerships of the electric car company Tesla, gave the PowerPoint presentation.

“I just discussed here in 2021 –- it was a landmark year for transportation electrification here in the United States,” she said. “In quarter three of last year, the total electric vehicle sales exceeded the total sales in the first three quarters of 2020. Hybrid sales were up 76% in that one quarter."

“We know that electric vehicles are coming,’’ PWC spokeswoman Carolyn Justice-Hinson said after the meeting. “All the major manufacturers – that’s where they’re going.”

Like every utility, PWC has to be prepared so the ongoing emergence of electric vehicles and the required charging stations don’t have a negative impact. It will be important to provide the right guidance when considering the impact of charging electric vehicles on peak power demand, Justice-Hinson said.

Cumberland County has seen a steady rise in electric vehicle registrations, Rockett said. There are approximately 3,500 electric vehicles in the county.

“We know that number is going to just keep growing,” Justice-Hinson said.

Rockett cited electric vehicles as "the biggest load opportunity since the 1950s air-conditioning explosion.”

Currently, there are 50 public charging stations in Fayetteville, Rockett said.

PWC owns four charging stations. They are at Lake Rim, Honeycutt Park, Clark Park and on the grounds of the Marketfair shopping center off Skibo Road. They were installed in 2015 with grant money that was allocated to the utility to help promote electric vehicles.

“Every year we see the use increase,” Justice-Hinson said. “It’s most ideal for people to charge at home.”

The utility’s electric vehicle team will return with recommendations on rates and incentives for people who want to own an electric vehicle in the area. Part of PWC’s priorities is to develop a master vehicle plan for charging so it won’t have a negative impact on the system.

The team has recommended, among other things, that PWC act as an advisor for customers interested in going electric and incorporate electric vehicle information onto its website. Because it can be complex, the team recommends that PWC not own any charging station equipment or assets.

The electric team also recommends that PWC partner with the city and county to assist on charging installation.

“This is very important to be planning how customers charge and how they start creating those habits,” Justice-Hinson said. “We’re trying to do that before they start and afterwards. This is planning for the future as the whole United States is doing right now.”

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Fayetteville, Public Works Commission, electric vehicles