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Residents get charged up over free electricity

The electric vehicle charging stations at Oak Bay municipal hall will remain free to use with a 30 minute charging limit, at least for now.

Council voted to keep the status quo, following director of engineering David Marshall’s recommendation that no changes be made until fall so more information can be gathered about what other municipalities in the region are doing.

Municipal staff has been fielding complaints from electric car owners that the 30 minute charging limit is too short, while others are complaining that the electricity should not be given away for free, at a cost to taxpayers.

“The initial intent (of the 30 minute limit) is to allow people to top up their vehicle while shopping in the village. Not to fully charge their car, “Marshall said.

“Everywhere is making the power free to access and we can’t charge for electricity,”

The municipality cannot charge for power as it is illegal to “resell electricity” under the Utilities Commission Act. Charging users would have to be labelled as a parking fee to recoup installation, maintenance and operational costs, Marshall said.
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