13 Mar Readers' Question: Electric Cars – Who pays for the power? – Michael Teys
In today’s show we answer your question. Ivan, a regular listener, asked about charging an electric car in a strata situation: Who pays for the power? Well there is a solution and we hear about it today from Michael Teys, from BlockStrata.com.au.
Kevin: I’m going to answer a question in the show now that came in from Ivan. Ivan, thank you very much. This is an interesting question because it just shows how the rental market or the property market does actually evolve. It’s a question that’s directed straight to strata guru Michael Teys, who joins us in just a moment.
I’ll read Ivan’s e-mail first: “I have a unit in a complex of eight and we all share a common garage. We have a unit owner from out of town, who lives in the property every two to three months. He has an electric car that he leaves in the common garage.
He plugs it into the common power point and puts a sign up that says ‘Do not turn off.’ He does that so that his car is fully charged when he visits next time as I understand the battery goes flat after about one month of not being used.
We’ve tried to talk to him about not using the common power, as we’re all paying for the charging of his car, but he says he has no other choice. His unit is at the back of the complex and quite a long way from the garage.
My question is how do we resolve this issue? I’m sure this will be more of an issue in the future as electric cars become more common.”
I’m sure they will, Ivan. An interesting question, and to get an answer to that, Michael Teys from BlockStrata.com.au joins me.
Michael, an interesting question, isn’t it?
Michael: It is, Kevin. Look, this is a huge hurdle for people who are looking at buying electric cars where they live in apartments – getting the permission to hook up to the central power, and then the question arises how are they going to pay for that power.
Kevin: There has to be a fair solution to this. Has this arisen very often?
Michael: Look, it’s starting to. Of course, there are overseas experiences where this is more common. Some owners in Australia have tried to set up some programs where they have themselves estimated the usage and have then reimbursed the owners corporation for the power. But look, that gets messy where there are issues of trust and also when other owners want to join in. There’s going to be more of this.
Fortunately, there’s some technology that’s now available that allows an individual car space owner to install a monitor that works out how much power is taken from the complex’s central power board, and then automatically reimburses the owners corporation for the power that’s used. That’s a real step forward for this concept.
Kevin: Who would be responsible for setting that up, Michael?
Michael: The owner with the electric car is going to have to apply for permission to install both the hardware and the cables that are necessary to make this work, because that’s still going to amount to an alteration or an addition to the common property that is held by the owners corporation.
But I’m expecting where the owners corporation gets reimbursement for these things, any group acting reasonably is going to approve the installation. But it is definitely for the car owner to get the approval before going ahead and doing the works.
Kevin: Michael, you mentioned that there is a solution. Is there a company we can turn to or get more information?
Michael: There is, Kevin. There’s a company called Jet Charge, which has the technology. Costs will be up to something like $3000. Look, this is something that people who are investing in this technology are probably going to be prepared to pay because of long-term savings that they’ll get. Like any green initiative, there will be a payback period.
I would also anticipate that as new developments are bought online, there will be more of this and there will be charging stations installed on common property. The mechanism to reimburse the owners corporation will become a standard feature of buildings for the future. It’s not at all beyond the possibility that we’ll start to see development approval conditions imposed on developers for these sorts of initiatives.
Kevin: Ivan, just to repeat those details, you can get all the information you like at JetCharge.com.au.
In addition to what you said there, Michael, Tim Washington from Jet Charge told me this morning that the cost could be as low as $1800. It ranges between $1800 and $3000. The cost variation is because of distance and difficulty.
Get a quote for yourself at JetCharge.com.au. We thank Tim and his team at Jet Charge for providing that information.
Michael Teys from BlockStrata.com.au. Thanks for your time, Michael. Thanks for looking into this for us, as well.
Michael: No trouble. Thanks as always, Kevin. Bye-bye.