Northeast Utilities (NU) is requesting federal funds to construct a regional network of charging stations for electric vehicles, reports the Hartford Courant. NU, which owns Connecticut Light & Power Co., hopes to install 575 high-voltage car-charging outlets in Connecticut and Massachusetts over the next two years.

The outlets would be located in businesses, public areas and private homes. The $1.4 million pilot program is seeking a $693,750 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The agency is expected to make a decision on the funding in June. Businesses and residents who want the charging outlets would have to pay for the remaining costs.

NU executives say the charging outlets are not forecast to raise electric rates, but car owners would be urged to charge their cars during off-peak hours, when power is less costly. NU likely would contract with an electrician to wire participating businesses and homes for a 220-volt line for the garage.

The high-voltage line would be designed for continuous use and would enable car owners to charge their electric vehicles within two to three hours.