User rates to charge up at incoming electric vehicle charging stations have been approved by the Regional District of Nanaimo board of directors.
Once installed – one each in Electoral Areas B, E, G and H – it will cost $1/hr for the first two hours of charging and $2/hr thereafter. A user-pay structure from the outset is a reversal from an earlier board decision to provide free charging for the first year the stations are in service as an incentive for residents to switch to electric vehicles.
Area B Director Vanessa Craig, who introduced the amended motion for the new fees, said the landscape of EV charging infrastructure in the region was different when the project began several years ago.
“I don’t think it needs the same incentive,” Craig said prior to the motion passing at the Oct. 12 board meeting. Free charging would also mean “entire areas would be subsidizing stations for a proportion of the population that can afford to purchase [electric vehicles] at this point.”
The fee structure is similar to charges implemented by Comox, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Saanich and Victoria over the last couple years. A $1/hr fee on a Level 2 charging station equals about $0.23/L while the current home charging cost is around $0.20/L, an RDN staff report says.
The board also passed amended motions by Craig that staff provide options within three months following the first year of service to either fully or partially recover the service cost of the stations and that fees and charges be reviewed annually rather than every two years. The estimated maximum annual cost to operate and maintain the four stations is $20,236.
The Area B station will be installed at Descanso Bay Regional Park. Initially estimated to be installed this Fall, all stations that are part of the provincial grant funded mid-Island EV project are now expected to be installed in Spring or Summer 2022.
The timeline “has been adjusted to ensure the purchasing requirements of all local governments involved are reflected in project agreements,” Kim Fowler, RDN manager of long range planning, sustainability and energy, told the Sounder. The specific timing of installations “will be better defined as we advance in the purchasing process.”
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder