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In an effort to expand the use of electric cars in Colorado, the state has gotten behind investor-owned utility companies efforts to develop vehicle charging stations as part of their regulated services. The effort has a direct impact on the Arkansas River Valley and long-term, say its sponsors could be a positive step, both for the environment and the economy.

On May 31, 2019, Gov. Jared Polis signed SB19-077, Electric Motor Vehicles Public Utility Services. The bill made its final passage through the House of Representatives on April 30, by a margin of 39-26 and the Senate on May 1, on a vote of 20-15.

Sponsored by Sen. Angela Williams (D-Denver), the Electric Motor Vehicles Public Utility bill allows investor-owned utility companies to own and operate electric motor vehicle charging stations as part of their regulated services.

“This bill is a common-sense solution that will benefit our economy, our businesses, and our environment by encouraging electric vehicle usage in Colorado,” said Williams. “Encouraging electric vehicle usage will ensure Colorado remains a leader in environmental protection and economic growth.”

By allowing energy companies to own and operate charging stations, energy companies can align their priorities with those of the Public Utilities Commission. That is, both parties may seek to install more electric vehicle charging stations throughout Colorado, thus encouraging electric vehicle usage.

Currently, the Town of Buena Vista has two electric vehicle charging stations within city limits and there are EV stations in  Salida and Poncha as well.

The Buena Vista stations are located in the parking area on the corner of East Main Street and South Railroad Street. These are owned by Sangre de Cristo Electric Association (SDCEA), which has helped the town of Buena Vista construct its charging stations after Colorado’s energy office supplied a grant to fund the project.