Crossbridge Invited to Government Session on EV Charger Proposals. Condominium Corporations are Advised to Provide Feedback on EV Charging Proposals by January 2nd.

Crossbridge Invited to Government Session on EV Charger Proposals. Condominium Corporations are Advised to Provide Feedback on EV Charging Proposals by January 2nd.

We released our Electric Vehicle (EV) charger protocol way back in October of 2013 – nine months before the mass-market Tesla Model 3 was even announced on Twitter.  The protocol encouraged the installation of EV chargers in condominiums by providing a pathway for our managers and boards to follow - industry stakeholders praised the protocol as the most complete, forward-looking document they had seen.

Fast forwarding to 2017, on December 1st, the Ontario government proposed some legislative changes intended to make the installation of EV charging stations in condominiums easier.  Crossbridge is proud to have been invited to provide in-person feedback on these proposals - Link to Proposals.  While we are naturally supportive of the government’s intentions, we took full advantage of the opportunity to provide comments based on our expertise and what we’ve heard from our clients over the years on the opportunity to install EV chargers in condominiums.

Based on our read of the room during the in-person feedback session on December 14th, we are encouraging our clients to send feedback directly to the government on the proposals based on the following points as they see fit:  (These proposals are due by January 2, 2018 and can be submitted to the Regulatory Registry via the “Comment on this proposal via email” link at the bottom of the Regulatory Proposal webpage.

While we are supportive of the government’s intentions to make the installation of EV charges in condominiums easier, we believe the proposals are problematic in a number of areas. Accordingly, we encourage boards to submit at least the underlined comments below:

1.  We urge the maintenance of the consumer protection mechanisms provided by the current Condominium Act.  Specifically, no exemption should be granted to Section 97 and 98.  Additionally, the property rights and protections granted via the declaration on deeded parking spaces need to be maintained.

2.  It is our understanding that the electrical supply from the utilities and the building’s capacity in the vast majority of condominiums will not support mass EV charging contemplated by Proposal #5 without large expenditures in infrastructure.  The issue of electrical supply and capacity is not limited to existing condominium buildings, the impact of higher EV charging loads at single family homes can quickly become an issue to local utility companies.  It is worse in the case of a condominium because the infrastructure costs are not shared among a relatively large utility customer base – they are borne directly by the unit owners in that particular building.  Even if utility supply was not a concern, we understand there is very limited space in the electrical rooms of existing condominium buildings to accommodate the appropriate switchgear to accommodate mass EV charging.

Electrical capacity and supply constraints make Proposal #5’s requirements that charging capacity be made available to 33% of all parking spaces by 2022, untenable. Moreover, any requirement to make charging capacity available should not be permitted to cause undue financial hardship to condominium corporations.  More reasonable charging capacity targets and financial cost limits are required.

3.  It follows that the common area charger approach in Proposal #6 is the most workable option for existing condominiums.  Our research shows we can accomplish the charging needs with different technologies at relatively low cost.  Additionally, we believe this approach offers more than a short-term solution. 

The Proposal #6 requirement for two Level-2 common element charging spaces will likely be viable for most condominium corporations, providing that municipal requirements for dedicated visitors parking can be modified to permit the use of such spaces for vehicle charging.  

4.  We agree with the Proposal #4 observation that no owner’s request for approval of charging capacity should be wilfully avoided or delayed.  However, condominium boards of directors are volunteers and boards generally meet monthly in accordance with their by-laws. A response deadline of 60 to 90 days would be appropriate to enable boards to make fully informed decisions.