City prepares for an electric future

The first 100 people to buy an electric vehicle will get a $200 rebate from the city in exchange for installing a special socket that will help measure the potential impact of more cars tapping into the power grid.

As plug-in electric vehicles become more popular, officials want to be prepared for the influx of energy use, so it’s requiring all electric-vehicle owners to install a special socket that will measure the effect on the power supply, said Ned Bassin, assistant general manager of customer and support services at Glendale Water & Power.

“We expect in the future there will be a lot of electric vehicles,” Bassin said.

That could take a toll on the city’s energy system without proper planning, officials say.

“It’s like adding a whole home to our distribution system,” Bassin said.

Electric-car buyers that want to charge their car faster must hire an electrician to install a 240-volt socket, for which the city will be installing special meters to measure the energy use. But the meters need a special connection that the electrician will be required to install — typically at a cost of $200 — hence the rebate offer.

Brandon Wishengrad, digital marketing director of Glendale Nissan, which sells the plug-in Leaf, said the city’s rebate is in addition to a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for electric-vehicle buyers.

“There is a push to get people to buy more electric vehicles,” Wishengrad said, adding that about 30 people have bought the Nissan Leaf at his dealership since it was released last spring.

Glendale already offers a 33-cent-per-day discount on energy bills for electric-car owners. The discount also applies to those who have hybrid cars, Bassin said.

Glendale Water & Power’s general manager, Glenn Steiger, has repeatedly said Glendale has the potential to be a strong market for plug-in cars.

Bassin said he expects it will take more than a year for the utility to exhaust the rebates, adding that it could return to City Council, which approved the funding earlier this week, to ask for more money.

If officials discontinue the rebate, electric-car owners will have to pay for the special meter connection on their own, he added.

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