City looks to expand charging stations

Charging stations inside a parking structure at the Westfield Valencia Towncenter. Cor Rubin/ The Signal

Frustrated electric car owners who say they routinely find no charge at a couple of local charging stations will soon have charging options as the city moves to nearly triple the number of its electric charging stations.

The city of Santa Clarita, which has three electric vehicle charging stations, hopes to have at least 11 charging stations by June of next year

“We have grant funding in place for eight additional charging stations,” Michael Villegas, management analyst for the city’s Department of Public Works, said Thursday.

Right now, the city has charging stations for the public at City Hall and the Metrolink Station on Soledad Canyon Road. A third charging station is reserved for city-owned electric vehicles.

At least two of the anticipated charging stations are earmarked for the Newhall Library.

Park charging stations

Four stations are slated for parks, including: Valencia Glen Park, Valencia Heritage Park, Canyon Country Park and Central Park.

City officials are also eyeing a spot at the Activities Center on Centre Pointe Parkway.

“We hope to have them in place by the end of our fiscal year, which is June 2019,” Villegas said.

The news was well-received by at least one electric car owner who, in the past couple of days, has complained of finding “dead” charging stations — inside parking structures near the Hyatt Regency Valencia hotel and the Edwards Valencia Stadium 12 & IMax movie theater.

No charge

Christine Hammersley, owner of a Chevy Volt who regularly meets marketing clients at the Hyatt, said she was disappointed to find — on more than one occasion — that the charging station near the Hyatt had no charge for her car.

“They haven’t worked at that location at the Hyatt,” she said.

“For weeks, it would work and then three or four weeks ago this outlet (near the Hyatt) wouldn’t work,” she said.

When told of the city plan to create more charging stations, Hammersley said: “”That’s great because there is more and more competition for these spots.”


Hyatt General Manager Mark Kirsh said he , too, is frustrated when he’s frequently told by guests that the charging station doesn’t charge.

“I do get calls and then I call to have the switch turned on,” he said Thursday, referring to the Valencia Management Group, which maintains the parking structure.

“I understand it’s as easy as pulling a breaker switch,” he said, noting the responsibility of maintaining the station falls to the management firm.

Leonard McKinley, spokesman for the Valencia Management Group, said: “This is an electrical outlet. To my knowledge, it works. I’ve never received a complaint.”

McKinley noted it is incumbent upon owners of electric cars that they drive a vehicle compatible with the 110 volts offered at the Hyatt location.

A similar “no charge” complaint was heard from a motorist at the charging station inside the parking structure near Buca di Beppo restaurant.

Prime parking spot

Paul Otrokov plugged his BMW i3 into the charging station there about noon Thursday. He said he routinely finds no charge at the station.

“I just plugged it in and I can see no (indicator) lights,” he said. “That tells me it’s not working.”

Asked why he leaves it plugged in, he said: “The parking spot is more important than the low voltage.”

Charging stations differ in the amount of charge offered. Level One stations typically offer 110 volts while Level Two stations offer 220 volts.

The city-owned station at the Metrolink station is called a DC Fuel Fill station, promising a charge for all electric vehicles.

Two workers in a motorized golf cart inside the parking structure near the Edwards movie theater said they routinely — about every week — respond to motorists complaining of finding no electric charge at the station.

The charging station near Edwards Valencia Cinema is maintained by the property management company CBRE.

A spokesman for CBRE said his supervisor would speak to the newspaper Friday, but not Thursday.

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