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Artesia Moves Ahead on Vehicle Electric Charging Facility

Unsubstantiated bid protest caused delay in construction

BY TAMMYE MCDUFF

In March of 2018 the City of Artesia received a grant from Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee for the purchase of an all-electric bus and the installation of an electric vehicle and bus charging station.

By December 2018, the Artesia Council had approved the purchase of an electric bus which is currently under construction expected to be completed by July 2019

In April 2019, the City issued an RFP and received two bids for the charging station; the bids were opened this past  June 3 and Baker Electric was the lowest responsible bidder at just over $250,000.

The other bidder, AMTEK Electric, protested the bid process which delayed the award.

City attorneys ruled that the protest was unsubstantiated and awarded the bid to Baker.

The project is expected to start anytime, but the bus will be ready prior to its completion.

“Delivery of the bus is forthcoming,” stated City Manager Bill Rawlings, ”our goal was to have the charging facility in place by the time the bus arrived, however it will probably lag a bit after the arrival. Alternate arrangements will have to be made to charge the bus in the interim.” 

Councilman Rene Trevino applauded the electric bus as a great idea but wanted to know the financial impact on the City. Rawlings indicated that until the bus and station are fully functioning there was no way of specifically knowing, but said he estimated it to be between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, not counting energy costs. 

“As you know,” Rawlings added, “the City recently converted all of its energy to ‘green power’ which is a little more expensive than we could buy it on the market.” The cost is based on free access to residents.

Mayor Tony Lima asked if the charging facility could be used by the public on any electric vehicles. 

Rawlings stated that initially it will be dedicated for the City bus only, and said the City is in the process of transitioning to an all electric fleet. 

“As you may have read in the paper,” said Rawlings, ”there are several companies coming out with electric pickup trucks, and we are looking forward to taking advantage of these vehicles in the next few fiscal years.” 

After the City fully incorporates electric vehicles, it will then be up to Council to determine whether the charging station can open to the public.

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