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. 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.

BC legislatureElectric vehicles

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File Photo)
Sparwood accepting submissions for 2021 Street Art Banner Program

Artwork depicting a love for Sparwood’s community and heritage will be accepted until Feb. 19

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

(File photo)
Interior Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Teck’s Elk Valley operations over

48 cases were linked to three Teck locations in the Elk Valley

Joanna and Aysha Haines opened their business, Drift and Sonder, on Jan. 22. (Soranne Floarea)
New businesses popping up in Fernie despite pandemic headwinds

More businesses in Fernie have opened than closed their doors since the pandemic began

(File photo)
Sparwood backs calls to declare Canadian overdose crisis a national public health emergency

Paramedics across B.C. responded to more overdose calls in 2020 than ever before

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Most Read