LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – LG&E and Kentucky Utilities can create up to 20 battery charging stations for electric cars across the state, regulators said in an order issued Monday.

The Public Service Commission also agreed to let businesses and the utilities’ other non-residential users host the stations. There is no limit on how many of those sites can be established.

LG&E and KU sought the commission’s approval last November. Each utility will be able to have 10 charging stations in its territory, mainly in areas such as public parking lots, garages and roads.

Chris Whelan, a utilities’ spokeswoman, said she expects the first stations to be operating in the next few months. The exact locations haven’t been announced, but “we would prefer it to be downtown both here and in Lexington,” she said.

Kentucky has about 30 charging stations open to the public, including 19 in the Louisville and Lexington areas served by LG&E and KU, according to the utilities. The Electric Power Research Institute estimates 757 plug-in electric cars have been registered in the state since 2010.

“Launching this new service, both in public access areas and for business customers interested in hosting charging stations, will further support electric vehicle drivers by improving their accessibility to regional charging stations,” John P. Malloy, LG&E and KU’s vice president of customer services, said in a statement.

The utilities expect to spend as much as $500,000 to install the charging stations and recoup the investment through fees on drivers who stop to charge their cars. California-based ChargePoint will oversee the stations.

The cost of the stations "will not result in increased rates" to customers, LG&E and KU officials told state regulators.

In the Louisville area, drivers will be charged $2.85 per hour, adjusted for how long they’re plugged in, and can pay by credit card. An hour’s charge will buy 10 to 20 miles, according to the Public Service Commission.

Businesses would be able to operate stations, possibly charging customers and paying a monthly fee to the utilities.

Bracing for a possible increase in electric vehicles, Kentucky State Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, filed a bill in this year’s General Assembly requiring those drivers pay a $100 annual fee. The measure, meant to boost revenue for the state’s struggling road fund, died in a Senate committee.

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