One day after declaring a Phase 1 Emergency because of record electricity use, the City of Austin released the locations of 103 electric-car charging stations that all tap into the power grid.
It may sound like something you would read in The Onion, but sadly, it’s no joke.
On Tuesday, the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Austin declared a Phase 1 Heat Emergency after Austin Energy customers set an all-time record for electricity use for the second day in a row. The demand is so bad that the city is contacting headquarters of businesses like Target, asking them to turn their lights down during times of peak energy consumption.
So what better way to reduce the stress of the power grid experiencing all-time demand than to power electric-car charging stations?
Only a day after the emergency declaration, Austin Energy released the locations of 103 charging stations around town, all of which will be tapping into the power grid that’s near max capacity. Karl Rabago, a representative of Austin Energy admitted to KVUE News in the past that “Electric charging adds a new and significant load to the grid that can have impact to the number of transformers, the size of the wire and the operations of the grid.”
That grid (which powers the entire state) could see mandatory power disruptions for large businesses and rolling blackouts if situations don’t improve.
So where is the City of Austin getting the money to build these stations? That would be you, the taxpayer. Funding for the public stations came from a federal stimulus grant. And if you live in Austin, chances are your tax dollars are paying for someone’s home charging stations too. For months, Austin Energy has been handing out $1,500 rebate checks to subsidize the costs of a home installation.
All of that money could have stayed in your wallet to ease the burden of a tough economy. Instead, it’s being used to subsidize a product that can’t find enough demand to last in a free market.
But don’t feel left out if you are one of the ones that can’t afford an electric-car lifestyle. Austin will have a billion-dollar urban-rail train for you to ride soon enough.
Dustin Matocha is the Social Media Coordinator of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Connect with Dustin on Twitter.