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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was asking via email to plug in for just ~1 hour while there on official school business (a scheduled meeting with staff), since I know they have an available outlet and also a huge 180 kWh PV system. I had briefly explained the usage amount and costs, and offered to pay $0.25 for the hour. This was the email response from the Superintendent of Schools:

"The Town of {town name} and the Board of Education are very interested in being green and supporting conservation as evidenced by the solar panel project, our building conservation efforts, recycling programs and educational programs with students. However, {School Name's} School's primary mission is educating students. Becoming a recharging station for privately owned automobiles is not a priority for the Board of Education. Also, providing a charging station on the school premises opens up all sorts of safety, legal, equity and staffing issues we are just not prepared to address at this time.

I admire your desire to be responsive in personally creating a very small ecological foot print on our very small planet by driving a plug in vehicle which gets such great mileage with electrical assist. Perhaps a discussion with the Selectmen or the {town name} business community might be a more appropriate places to start, rather than creating a solar charging station on school grounds. Perhaps there is a need to have such a facility available at a more appropriate location in {town name}, rather than on our school grounds which has serious traffic pattern issues and safety issues at the present time.

If you do not share my view on this, you are welcome to address your request with the Board of Education at its next meeting on {date}. As Superintendent of Schools I cannot grant you permission to plug into any school outlets at this time for the reasons cited above. Sincerely, {Superintendent name}"
 

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aventineavenue, judging only by what's written in your post it seems the school's superintendent didn't understand your straightforward request.

If I were you, I would just plug in for the approx. one hour you are on school grounds provided that your charge cord didn't create a tripping hazard.
 

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The typical reply from those who agree with the supt. is "you wouldn't expect them to pay for your gas either" but what about plugging in your laptop or phone or using their internet/wifi while there? Using water, sewage, paper products in the restroom? Over the years on a professional level, I visited numerous businesses and educational institutions and have been offered, and accepted, a cup of coffee or bottled water; probably in the hundreds of times.

All of these services come with a cost higher than plugging in. It's going to take time to educate the mainstream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
aventineavenue, judging only by what's written in your post it seems the school's superintendent didn't understand your straightforward request.
I wish it were simply that case - but I explained it very clearly and it was right there is the actual subject of the email. In fact knowing this guy, he was trying to both deny my very small request and establish a clear "policy" going forward, kind of like as in the fable, trying to "kill the baby before it can grow up to overthrow the king" to make a bad analogy...except we know how that story turned out ;)
 

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Would they allow someone to plug in an engine block heater on cold days?
Probably so. An Army installation I was working at allowed the giant, jacked-up, diesel pick-up trucks to plug in their engine block heaters in the winter, but denied my request to plug in my Volt.

This is why anymore it's probably just better to plug in without asking. Once you ask, it becomes a matter where the safest choice is to say no as far as liability. If you just assume an outdoor plug is there to be used and use it, they can always tell you to stop.
 

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They are equating "EV charging" with "L2 charging station installation" and not a simple 120V plug for a little while. Typical.

I've even sent a similar email to the college I went to and where I am taking my son to visit next Friday for an open house. This college may make over $100K from me if he decides to go to this college. I asked "is there a place to plug in my Volt while visiting". I emailed the parking manager and even copied one of our members here who is the president of that college. No replies...

It's a challenge to find legitimate EV-friendly places or even people who will take on the responsibility to answer an email. Glad you got a reply - but they don't understand opportunity charging and feel that legal liability is always a risk to shut down anything "new".

Speaking of other free stuff at work.
Places I work offer free coffee. Many offer one-shot "Flavia" coffee and free paper cups. People use new paper cups each time they visit the coffee station. These places go through thousands of paper cups per week. Nice trash load there. I bring my own mug into work whenever I consult somewhere. I never take their paper cups that everyone else is eager to do. I feel like I cannot just put up a sign saying "hey - why not bring a mug in and stop the landfill growth..." But I'd like to.
 

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I was asking via email to plug in for just ~1 hour while there on official school business (a scheduled meeting with staff), since I know they have an available outlet and also a huge 180 kWh PV system. I had briefly explained the usage amount and costs, and offered to pay $0.25 for the hour. This was the email response from the Superintendent of Schools:

"The Town of {town name} and the Board of Education are very interested in being green and supporting conservation as evidenced by the solar panel project, our building conservation efforts, recycling programs and educational programs with students. However, {School Name's} School's primary mission is educating students. Becoming a recharging station for privately owned automobiles is not a priority for the Board of Education. Also, providing a charging station on the school premises opens up all sorts of safety, legal, equity and staffing issues we are just not prepared to address at this time.

I admire your desire to be responsive in personally creating a very small ecological foot print on our very small planet by driving a plug in vehicle which gets such great mileage with electrical assist. Perhaps a discussion with the Selectmen or the {town name} business community might be a more appropriate places to start, rather than creating a solar charging station on school grounds. Perhaps there is a need to have such a facility available at a more appropriate location in {town name}, rather than on our school grounds which has serious traffic pattern issues and safety issues at the present time.

If you do not share my view on this, you are welcome to address your request with the Board of Education at its next meeting on {date}. As Superintendent of Schools I cannot grant you permission to plug into any school outlets at this time for the reasons cited above. Sincerely, {Superintendent name}"
He could have more easily said, "Sure. Just don't block traffic, and charge at your own risk."

But instead, he wants to waste the entire board's time over 25 cents of electricity?! He doesn't seem too worried about the cost and the liability of providing a parking space, and I bet that he wouldn't care if you used much more electricity to plug in your block heater on a cold day.

As is common with government people, he apparently fears the unknown and doesn't want to stick his neck out and be held responsible for the decision if something goes wrong. Because he has no profit or competition incentive to embrace change, it is easier for him to just say no.

I'd recommend going before the school board. Your case is strong. Assuage their fears: talk about UL certification and safety records, agree to sign a release of liability, etc. Make it clear that you are not asking for a full-blown 'charging station,' with all of the 'safety, legal, equity and staffing issues' that they fear. Use their obvious interest in alternative energy (as proven by their solar panels) as an incentive. You can set the precedent for yourself and other EV owners at this school (and many other public facilities), and the cowardly superintendent still gets to pass the buck/cover his ass.
 

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It is clearly risk aversion with a political spin. Not allowing means no potential downisdes or ramifications. The pandering tone reads "politition"
 

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They are equating "EV charging" with "L2 charging station installation" and not a simple 120V plug for a little while. Typical.

I've even sent a similar email to the college I went to and where I am taking my son to visit next Friday for an open house. This college may make over $100K from me if he decides to go to this college. I asked "is there a place to plug in my Volt while visiting". I emailed the parking manager and even copied one of our members here who is the president of that college. No replies...

It's a challenge to find legitimate EV-friendly places or even people who will take on the responsibility to answer an email. Glad you got a reply - but they don't understand opportunity charging and feel that legal liability is always a risk to shut down anything "new".

Speaking of other free stuff at work.
Places I work offer free coffee. Many offer one-shot "Flavia" coffee and free paper cups. People use new paper cups each time they visit the coffee station. These places go through thousands of paper cups per week. Nice trash load there. I bring my own mug into work whenever I consult somewhere. I never take their paper cups that everyone else is eager to do. I feel like I cannot just put up a sign saying "hey - why not bring a mug in and stop the landfill growth..." But I'd like to.
There is your problem, you don't ask if it is okay, you ask if there is "Any issues with me plugging my Volt into a electric socket while on campus?." In this way if they do not reply; it is presumed acceptable.

If they did have a issue they would have to notify you in a reply otherwise by being silent they are indicating no issues.
 

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Common sense appears to be one of the causalities in this "let's not take any risk" litigation happy society. I would have thought that a place of "higer leaning" would have been more responsive.
 

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Reminds me of a situation with the Principal and School Superintendant I had to deal with. These people who are supposed to care for our children are actually the most unfeeling and caustic of human beings. Sure, when my daughter was sent to INTENSIVE CARE directly from SCHOOL PROPERTY with a head injury that subsequently left her without the ability to taste or smell, the Principal paid a obligatory visit at the hospital. But later, we got to see that these idiots were just heartless bureaucrats (in an unrelated issue), I lost a lot of faith in...well, much of everything in general. If these folks did give a rat's behind about the planet we are leaving to our children, they would MAKE a way to insure something that is better to the environment is accommodated on school grounds. If I were in their shoes, I would take it as an opportunity to stand up for something that makes sense. In reality, you got what you got.

I would take one of two actions if I were you. Either 1) blow off the response and plug in at any available output and unplug if someone complains or 2) contact the local media with this response in hand, making sure you emphasize that you DO give a rat's behind about the future of the kids in the district and it is a partial motivation for ownership of this automobile. Since these idiot bureaucrats care more about their reputations, a rebuttal to this idiot along these lines (that your next step is the media) may actually reverse his decision. And I might assume that there are parents lined up to pick up their kids at the school at some point. Take a picture on a cold day, showing all those tailpipes spewing emissions into the air and note that your Volt has no similar issue.

Put that picture in the letter and tell the jerk, 'Thanks for the challenge, I think I will attend that next school board meeting and show the people who have your paycheck in their hands that you are not the visionary we need in charge of our children's educational outlook on life. Being 'green' is a IDEOLOGY, not a PUNCH LIST!!! If you want to do anything more than pay lip service to your self assessment of 'interested in being green', you'll realize that your own comment of having 'serious traffic pattern issues' provides an OPPORTUNITY to show that you TRULY want to make a statement about what driving green SHOULD be about. Until then, you have proven to me you are hyprocrite and I will indeed be raising the issue to our elected officials about the matter.'
 

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Personally, I think you are taking it too personally.

To even get a response is amazing. Also, a detailed explanation as well. The super could have ignored you or just said no.

The reality is that one hour of volt charging would have provided a mile or two and weighed against his liability issues so it is in the super's best interest to say no. In a litigious society such is the USA(I am assuming this is in the USA), this is the result. In context it makes sense. In reality it goes against common sense.
 

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I've had mixed luck with the "can I plug in" question. Asked at work and the answers was "no".
Here's the reply to my request:
We may pursue this at some point but we've not had any other requests. I'm sure on into the future we may have charging stations out in the lot but they would have to be designed especially for this and be protected from fires and other hazards, etc. Because of any insurance concerns, there would have to be a company wide mandate to start to do this and make it available for all employees. I will keep you posted on any progress made on this as we hope this technology proves out in the long run. Thanks.

I then proceded to ask at three close my hotels and all three said "Yes". Wendy's even said I could plug in at their large sign.....

I agree it may be better to plug now and ask later in some circumstances. If you would want to plug on a routine basis, you most likely will need to get approval. Good luck.
 

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Several here have basically said 'don't ask first, apologize later'. However, even though it's only 25c, it's stealing. There have been cases where a city has pressed charges against people stealing electricity for their EVs and other uses such as laptops.

Since we have a gasoline option, I think it is best not to press the issue so we don't become those 'dang EV electricity stealers'.
 

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My employer has been good to me. We have no physical office and I telecommute or visit customer sites. So, while telecommuting "I plug in all the time". :)

For some of the comments above, particularly Bazinga's - I think that we in the USA have to kick the lawyers to the curb and have tort reform. Otherwise, this country won't survive this century. Oh wait - all our government is based on lawyers. We're doomed :(
 

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I credit the superintendent for taking the time to give you a thoughtful response when a simple "no, current policy does not allow me to grant this permission at this time" would have been sufficient. Yes it is a frustratingly risk-averse response, but these days public schools systems have little leeway to act otherwise. They are under huge financial pressure and they are under a microscope. Even the smallest perceived waste of money can be blown wildly out of proportion by skeptics on one side or the other. Especially in the case of the Volt, a hugely polarizing vehicle. And a $.25 reimbersement would likely be more than consumed by administrative costs should the school office try to credit it to the proper account. Yes, the school may on occasion provide other higher cost freebies (e.g. free coffee), but there are established procedures for doing that. (These are afterall highly bureaucratic institutions.)

You have a Volt. In my opinion, you need not worry about plugging in for such a short period of time. But I respect your desire to do so. If you wish to pursue your desire to plug in at a local school, the superintedent spelled out for you the way forward. Raise the issue at the next Board of Education meeting. Dealing with a bureaucracy isn't easy, but sometimes it is necessary.
 

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Personally, I think you are taking it too personally.

To even get a response is amazing. Also, a detailed explanation as well. The super could have ignored you or just said no.

The reality is that one hour of volt charging would have provided a mile or two and weighed against his liability issues so it is in the super's best interest to say no. In a litigious society such is the USA(I am assuming this is in the USA), this is the result. In context it makes sense. In reality it goes against common sense.
Yes, it was a response, but I didn't see any details. The closest I saw was, "all sorts of safety, legal, equity and staffing issues" and "serious traffic pattern issues." Of course, I could make up unsubstantiated nebulous excuses like that to justify denying anything. I would have preferred no reply at all.
 

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Since we have a gasoline option, I think it is best not to press the issue so we don't become those 'dang EV electricity stealers'.
Well my first response is to remember the tape clip the late, great, Jim Healy used to play of of Sparky Anderson yelling "You talk about chickens**t!", LOL.

But actually I agree with Loboc. I've just given up on public charging. It's not worth the hassle to lug the charger and the extension cord around and then have to deal with this sort of attitude. BFD.
 

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I was asking via email to plug in for just ~1 hour while there on official school business (a scheduled meeting with staff), since I know they have an available outlet and also a huge 180 kWh PV system. I had briefly explained the usage amount and costs, and offered to pay $0.25 for the hour. This was the email response from the Superintendent of Schools:

"The Town of {town name} and the Board of Education are very interested in being green and supporting conservation as evidenced by the solar panel project, our building conservation efforts, recycling programs and educational programs with students. However, {School Name's} School's primary mission is educating students. Becoming a recharging station for privately owned automobiles is not a priority for the Board of Education. Also, providing a charging station on the school premises opens up all sorts of safety, legal, equity and staffing issues we are just not prepared to address at this time.

I admire your desire to be responsive in personally creating a very small ecological foot print on our very small planet by driving a plug in vehicle which gets such great mileage with electrical assist. Perhaps a discussion with the Selectmen or the {town name} business community might be a more appropriate places to start, rather than creating a solar charging station on school grounds. Perhaps there is a need to have such a facility available at a more appropriate location in {town name}, rather than on our school grounds which has serious traffic pattern issues and safety issues at the present time.

If you do not share my view on this, you are welcome to address your request with the Board of Education at its next meeting on {date}. As Superintendent of Schools I cannot grant you permission to plug into any school outlets at this time for the reasons cited above. Sincerely, {Superintendent name}"
I find it amazing how scared people are of electricity, after having over 100 years+ of the stuff mainstream you'd think people would have gotten used to it.
 
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