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

Ferry connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

BC Parks Student Ranger Program accepting applications for 2019 season

12 crews of four student rangers will work in regions throughout the province including Bella Coola.

Over $650,00 given to rural communities thanks to Rural Dividends

Five communities, including Williams Lake, are receiving $10,000 for project grants

Pregnant Cariboo firefighter tries to save own house from blaze

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Road report for Highway 20

Fog patches and slippery sections; Drive BC

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Suspended B.C. legislature officers accused of ‘flagrant overspending’

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Alberta youth charged over theft of $17,000 in snow equipment at B.C. ski resort

Alberta RCMP recovered $17,000 in skis/snowboards believed stolen from Fernie Alpine Resort Saturday

China demands U.S. drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

Hua said China demands that the U.S. withdraw the arrest warrant against Meng Wanzhou

Giant ice disk equipped with webcam after surviving storm

Westbrook official Tina Radel says the livestream was requested by Brown University

Ousted B.C. legislature officials say report released to further blacken their reputations

James and Lenz say release was ‘Contrary to all principles of fairness and decent treatment’

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

Auto shop apologizes after B.C. employees disrespect memorial convoy

Mr. Lube staff members suspended after incident Sunday in Nanaimo

Most Read