Jacob Orenberg of Seattle City Light demonstrates an electric vehicle charger that is mounted high on a power pole. David Ferris/E&E News

By David Ferris

Seattle, WA Jacob Orenberg stands next to a wooden utility pole on a cloudy Seattle afternoon, tapping at his phone. Then, with the faintest of whirs, something stirs overhead.

The noise comes from a gray steel box, a dozen feet off the ground and blandly unremarkable in the manner of hardware that hangs off power poles. A slender white-and-black thing is slowly descending from that box, attached to an orange tether. Reaching the level of Orenberg’s waist, it halts.

The device is a charger, the standard-issue kind that conveniently refills the battery of an electric car in a home garage.

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