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

No Stuart Park fire-pit in Kelowna this winter

City says in bid to reduce natural gas use, it won’t light fire pit at popular outdoor ice rink

Differences between the California and Okanagan fires taken seriously

Chief Travis Whiting and Kelowna Fire Department learn from the devasting U.S. fires

Glenrosa Elementary PAC fundraiser nets $10,000

Half the $20,000 allegedly stolen from school funds is replaced

Physio treatment user fees dropped for auto accident injuries

ICBC negotiates new contract with B.C. Physiotherapy Association

Beat the Mondays: Trapped in Bali? Lessons learned from an erupting volcano

Gina Petrovich is a travel writer for the Kelowna Capital News

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

22 public toilets in Victoria: 136 people currently peeing

World Toilet Day floats some serious health issues

Calgary Stampeders back to Grey Cup with 22-14 win over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Calgary was favoured to win the 2017 and 2016 Grey Cups, but lost to the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks respectively.

‘A giant step forward’: new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond to enter circulation

A new $10 banknote featuring Viola Desmond’s portrait will go into circulation, just over 72 years after she was ousted from the whites-only section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, N.S.

Searchers in California wildfire step up efforts; 77 dead

Trump arrived at the oceanside conclave Saturday afternoon after visiting Northern California to survey the wildfire damage in the town of Paradise.

Trump says ‘no reason’ for him to hear Khashoggi death tape

“It’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it,” Trump said in the interview.

Canada Post calls for ‘cooling off’ period to allow for mediated talks

The proposal came as Canada Post workers continued their rotating strikes Monday after rejecting the Crown agency’s latest offer.

Metro Vancouver homicide detectives busy after separate weekend deaths

Homicide detectives in Metro Vancouver are investigating separate cases involving two deaths they say appear to be either targeted or suspicious.

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Most Read