EV – Electric Vehicle Charging and your OC

You have just purchased an electric vehicle and driven it into your Owners Corporation parking garage. You park, step out of your new vehicle, pull out the charging cable whilst expectantly looking around the parking area for a power socket.

Your true electric journey is likely just beginning. Like in these scenarios;

    • You are concerned but spot a Common Area power point. Even if its 20 meters away, that’ll do. Just buy another extension lead to attach to my high-power charge lead. No one will mind that it crosses someone else’s car park lot or common property.
    • You are lucky. A common Area power point next to your car space lot.
    • You are completely unlucky and there is no power point on your level. You will then just get permission from the OC to install one.
    • Surely if I’m in luck with a power point nearby, I won’t need to pay for Common Area Electricity, consider Australian Standards, Safety and any Safety Advisories or Building Insurance implications. Why even tell the OC Manager or Committee (this does come home to roost).
    • Before buying your EV you have approached your Owners Corporation Committee to see if you can charge your electric vehicle in the car park. It happens, some people will do the research first.
    • And Yes, this isn’t a full list, which is getting bigger as it all comes out of the woodwork with new technology. Don’t we know that.
I think many of you reading this may have already started to experience where just these few examples start to go. You may have already done the right thing and ran it by your OC Committee. You may be a Committee Member in fact now having to consider the implications after a request by a lor owner. And Yes, in many areas of Melbourne the discussion is just beginning re the challenges.

Some implications to consider run a bit like this;

Any owner given permission to plug into common area power must pay for this by a quantifiable method – e.g. ‘User Pays’ and as VCAT will find by applying the ‘Benefit Principle’. In short, the party given permission will have to install a meter at their cost and remit payments to the OC for electricity used. However when most Committees get a request like this they have to look at all the consequences and in many instances will then ask the question – How much to provide electrical outlets to each car space lot, not just one? Will our building power substation have to be upgraded (remembering that most requests will also include 3 Phase Power as most vehicles are marketed on their high speed charging capability) and will our insurance be affected? How much will it all cost if it can proceed? And off course how much will the special levy be? In the pursuit of transparency and fairness, if one Lot Owner is offered the ability to charge an electric vehicle, all lot owners must be offered and therefor the OC can quickly find itself engaged in a major project with all manner of consequences, intended or not. A few large fires in European parking garages have also thrown in some more considerations, around stability of some electric vehicle batteries and charging. We are aware that a major Owners Corporation Manager has issued an instruction re no vehicle charging being allowed in their development carpark areas, it appears due to their observations from Europe. Our guess is that following an increasing number of battery related fire incidents in Melbourne and recent alerts by Fire Rescue Victoria around charging in enclosed areas, there will be some determinations coming. As we, at theOCguide assist many large Owners Corporations with their challenges we are finding there are more and more discussions occurring around the subject of EV Charging in large Owners Corporations. We are certainly not Electrical Consultants but can at least point you or your OC in the right direction when seeking to understand the challenges and questions that should be asked.
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