B.C. is adding to its network of vehicle charging stations, but most give the electricity away at taxpayer expense. (B.C. government)

B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver says electric car drivers should pay

Most charging stations don’t charge money, because they can’t

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver is sometimes ribbed about charging his electric car for free at a station at the back of the B.C. legislature.

Weaver was questioning Premier John Horgan Wednesday about the need for more charging infrastructure, and he pointed out a key problem. With the growth of electric vehicle popularity, there are now about 1,500 charging stations in B.C., and most don’t charge money for charging batteries.

“Charging infrastructure remains a barrier for widespread EV adoption, and B.C. Hydro, which has installed a few fast chargers recently, has done so by giving away the electricity for free,” Weaver said. “This has led to large lineups as locals get electricity for free while those who need it and those who want to pay for it have to wait in line.”

Weaver noted that while there are some privately owned charging stations, such as at shopping malls, the majority are public, often at the expense of the province or a local government.

The problem is the historical regulation of electricity sales. To sell power in B.C. you either have to be a registered public utility or get an exemption, which Weaver says is difficult to get.

“Oregon, California, Washington, Ontario, New York and a number of other U.S. states have already exempted EV charging from energy regulations,” Weaver told the legislature. “Resale of electricity is permitted, like a gas station, without prior approval, and prices are set by the market.”

Horgan said the B.C. Utilities Commission has initiated its own review of the situation. He noted that the finance ministry put an additional $10 million into B.C.’s electric car subsidy fund, which had gone through its $27 million budget by September.

RELATED: B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains quickly

The point-of sale program is administered by the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. It provides up to $5,000 for purchase or lease of a new battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle or up to $6,000 for a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

B.C. has long led the country in adoption of electric vehicles, but they are still a small portion of the traffic on the roads. Electric vehicles were 3.7 per cent of new car sales in June 2018, and between April and June there were 1,400 vehicle incentive applications paid.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

International Macaron Day: Buy a treat, support the KGH Foundation

Tasty treats can be purchased around Kelowna, March 20

Protected bike lane, multi-use bridge to improve Kelowna cycling network

Construction begins next week to improve the city’s cycling network.

West Coast Poke bowls coming to Kelowna’s downtown

Pacific Poke is opening a location on Bernard Avenue

Concert to conquer cancer comes to Vernon, Kelowna

All proceeds go to the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s Childhood Cancer Research Initiative.

Kelowna petting zoo closing its gates

Hoof Prints Barnyard announced, Tuesday night, it will be closing

The UBC Innovation Library has helped over 1,100 students since opening in 2015

Students across B.C. can access their academic resources at the UBC Innovation Library

BC man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says Parksville official

Beloved Okanagan-Skaha school district champion dies

Bruce Johnson was a teacher, principal and long-serving school trustee in Penticton

’Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Concert to conquer cancer comes to Vernon, Kelowna

All proceeds go to the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s Childhood Cancer Research Initiative.

Police lock down part of Armstrong after ‘live grenade’ discovered

An ordnance believed to be a grenade found on Smith Drive between Dairy Queen and Anchor Inn Pub

Dutch police question new suspect in deadly tram shooting

Police are looking for additional suspects in the shooting

Starbucks to test recyclable cups, redesign stores in B.C., U.S. cities

The company also said it plans to redesign its stores as it adapts to increasing mobile pick-up and delivery orders

In pre-election budget, Liberals boost infrastructure cash to cities, broadband

The budget document says the Liberals have approved more than 33,000 projects, worth about $19.9 billion in federal financing

Most Read