Electrical Vehicle Chargers – Some Special Considerations
By way of recap, the regulations under the Condominium Act are designed to facilitate approval for EV Chargers and charging systems. See our previous blogs (dated March 29, 2018 and March 17, 2022) for more information. Very briefly:
- After providing 60 days’ notice to the owners, a condominium corporation can make upgrades for an EV charging system where such upgrades are estimated to cost less than 10% of the corporation’s annual budget.
- A condominium corporation can make upgrades for an EV charging system which are estimated to cost more than 10% of the corporation’s annual budget, but in such cases the notice to owners must include an opportunity for owners to requisition a meeting to vote on the proposed upgrades.
- Condominium corporations must give approval to an owner’s request to install an EV Charger (for the owner), provided refusal isn’t justified based upon expert advice (as set out in the Regulations) and provided the owner enters into an agreement dealing with responsibility for all related costs and other matters which is registered against the owner’s unit. In many cases, we find that a by-law is an excellent way to regulate the required agreements with owners.
Depending upon the circumstances, there may be some other special considerations. For instance, in some cases it may be necessary to make upgrades to the building’s common element electrical infrastructure in order to increase (or maximize) the opportunities for installation of EV Chargers on the property. And in some cases, the opportunities (for installation of EV Chargers) may be fewer than the number of units. This may raise some important questions:
- Can those owners who receive an opportunity to install an EV Charger be required to pay for the corporation’s infrastructure upgrades (needed to create these opportunities)?
- What if the demand to install EV Chargers may one day exceed the supply of EV Charger Opportunities in the building?
In our view, these sorts of issues may require careful consideration in each case; and there may be different solutions. Sometimes, it might well be proper for owners who receive an EV Charger Opportunity to cover related costs for infrastructure upgrades. [In general, our feeling is that owners should be contributing to the cost of upgrades if they receive an opportunity, even if they don’t immediately “take advantage” of that opportunity (by installing an EV Charger). But again, this may depend upon the specific circumstances.] If there is a limit on the available opportunities, the Board may also need to find creative ways to allocate or share the available opportunities between the interested owners.
In our view, the overriding principle is as follows: All owners must be treated fairly. In most cases, this will mean that all owners must have an equivalent chance to enjoy the available EV Charger Opportunities in the building.
In some cases, this might mean that owners who originally receive an opportunity to install an EV Charger (for instance, on a “first come first served” basis) might one day be required to relinquish or share this opportunity, if demand for EV Chargers in the building changes (and therefore exceeds the supply of opportunities). This in turn may mean that adjustments or rebates may be necessary, for instance if owners who have previously contributed towards costs for infrastructure upgrades subsequently lose their EV Charger Opportunities. Note as well that this possibility for adjustments or rebates may need to be mentioned in the status certificates (so that all purchasers are also aware).
Another obvious important factor is as follows: In many cases, it may be possible to increase the EV Charger Opportunities, in future, by way of infrastructure upgrades (or further infrastructure upgrades). But infrastructure upgrades can’t necessarily be guaranteed. For instance, depending upon the estimated cost, owners might have the right to “vote down” a proposed upgrade. Also, future upgrades may “cost more”, which could also trigger a need for additional adjustments or rebates. All of this could get quite intricate and tricky in some cases.
The bottom line is as follows: Condominium corporations may need to grapple with the reality that opportunities to install EV Chargers may, in some cases, not meet the demand (now or in the future). In such cases, the challenge for the Board and Management will be to come up with fair ways to allocate or share the available opportunities and the related costs. The solutions may vary from case to case.
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