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Paradise cuts ribbon on electric charging network

By Mark Squibb/July 22, 2022

Representatives from Newfoundland Power, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, the federal and provincial governments, and Paradise town staff and council were on hand July 15 for the unveiling of a new charging station at Paradise Town Hall, the first of 19 new stations coming online across the province this year.

“I like to say it’s always a great day in Paradise, and that’s certainly the case today as we welcome the first site of the takeCHARGE electric vehicle charging network,” said Mayor Dan Bobbett. “Our town is one of the fastest growing municipalities in the province, and we have one of the youngest demographics, which makes this charging station a great fit for Paradise. When residents are looking at electric vehicles, it helps to know that there’s a charging station in our town, one that is part of the provincial network.”

NL Hydro President Jennifer Williams said installing charging stations across the province removes a barrier when it comes to buying electric vehicles — and she’s sure that people will buy them.

“I said to my daughter one day, as we were talking about electric vehicles, ‘You’ll probably tell your kids one day that mommy had to go to a thing called a gas station,’” she said.

Williams drives an electric vehicle herself, and can’t imagine a world were her oldest daughter, a 19-year-old, will ever buy a gas-powered vehicle.

“In Newfoundland and Labrador, Hydro generates over 80 per cent of the electricity used here every day, generated from our province’s clean, renewable energy sources,” said Williams. “It’s important to remember that we already have a high percentage of renewable electricity here. That makes Newfoundland a great place to drive electric. And by making the switch to an EV, we’re directly supporting a more sustainable future for our province, and the people we love that live here.”

She noted the majority of charging is actually done at people’s homes, so figures showcasing the tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions dispelled by public charging stations don’t tell the full story.

“As an electric vehicle owner myself now for about two years, I know that it is a really, really big decision for folks to move away from a traditional gas or fuel powered vehicle; change is not easy,” said Williams. “And that’s why it’s important we help make the transition easier for everyone.”

Williams said she saves several hundred dollars a month at the pumps, according to an app on her phone that measures electricity rates versus fuel rates.

“It’s about a quarter of the cost of gas, if not less,” said Williams. “The maintenance cost is another savings as well.

She noted the takeCHARGE website has a gas-to-electric cost calculator that folks can use to estimate how much they might save if they make the switch.

Each of the 19 sites have two chargers; a fast charger that can provide up to 100 km of range in 20 minutes and a level 2 charger that can provide up to 30 km in one hour, making for 38 chargers all together.

The 19 charging stations come courtesy of an investment of over a million dollars of federal funds.

“This is how we create a future where vehicles we drive won’t harm the environment we cherish,” said Liberal MP Ken McDonald, who spoke at length about the federal government’s net-zero emissions program.

Although the charging station was officially unveiled last week, it’s actually been up and running for about 10 weeks.

Mayor Bobbett said whenever he comes to Town Hall, there are always two vehicles hooked up to the station.

Osther communities with the charging stations include Port Rexton, Bonavista, Lewisporte, St. Mary’s, Marystown, Fermeuse, Trepassey and more, along with three in Labrador.

All 19 stations are set to be up-and-running by the end of the year.

Newfoundland Power VP Byron Chubbs said Hydro has received applications from businesses and municipalities to host 12 more charging stations in 2023.

The price of a level two charge is $1.50 per hour. That rate is a market-based rate set by the Public Utilities Board.

Last week’s announcement also coincided with electric vehicle week.

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