You Want To Plug In? You’re Out! Couple Refused Access To Plug Two Feet Away At Condo

3 years ago by Jay Cole 48

BC Couple not Allowed To Plug In Despite 110 Plug 2 Feet Away

BC Couple not Allowed To Plug In Despite 110 Plug 2 Feet Away

A Port Moody, British Columbia couple have been forced to from their condominium because they want to plug-in.

And while in some communities in the US, such as in Santa Monica, California, now have legislation that says landlords “cannot unreasonably deny a tenant the ability to install a charging station”, this is something entirely different.

Gah!!! So Close!

Gah!!! So Close!

In this case, the couple owns the condo, they don’t want to install anything, but rather use the plug that is 2 feet from their car – a Chevrolet Volt.

The issue here is that their building’s strata corporation is refusing to discuss the matter, and even offers to cover the cost have fallen on deaf ears.

According to Kyle Wiebe and Tamara Tedesco it never occured to them that would not be allowed to plug in as their previous residence had no issue.  In a statement to CTV news Vancouver, the couple said:

“We offered to either pay in monthly installments [to the strata] or a flat fee to more than cover our electric usage.” 

And while we understand the strata is within its legal rights to deny access to the plug, they have still taken up a fairly backwards position in our opinion.

Special bonus of bad press for the strata? Ms. Tamara is blind.

“It is extremely frustrating to have to move again, especially for me being blind. It’s just a whole other layer of adjustment, relearning my new home, my new area.” 

CTV News Vancouver (+ video report)

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48 responses to "You Want To Plug In? You’re Out! Couple Refused Access To Plug Two Feet Away At Condo"

  1. Mark C says:

    The condo association apparently has put no thought into how to deal with electric vehicles and their owners. Burying your head in the sand is no way to prepare for the future.

    1. Mark H says:

      While this outrages our emerging community, it is still our responsibility to do our due diligence first.

      My brother, who teaches at a university and recently acquired a Volt. I asked him if he had done any recon for a plug on his campus. He responded extremely professionally that he would not just offer to pay for the electricity in fear of failure, but would approach the proper committees about the installation of campus chargers before he would dare to plug in.

      This is the only proper answer and hats off to my brother.

      As much as we hate to hear the story about not being able to use the outlet two feet away, I am fairly certain you would not be thrown out for asking. We have to get this right.

      1. Stimpacker says:

        It’s only a Volt. All it needs is a regular 120V outlet.

        Any owner of a 120V outlet that requires a committee to decide much less even think about installing charging stations is absurd. It’s no different than plugging in a portable electric heater. Don’t let lawyers tell you otherwise.

        1. Foo says:

          How is this “absurd”? Electricity isn’t free. In this case, I’m assuming the outlet in the garage is the landlord’s and for which he pays the electricity bill. If so, then he is within his rights to limit who uses it.

          This is just as if he had a water spigot in the garage. You wouldn’t assume you could just attach a hose and fill up your pool, would you? You’d at least ask if that would be okay. If the answer is no, too bad.

          1. Mark H says:

            And the point being, you are more likely to be told yes if you ask first and ask professionally. If we do otherwise we are part of the problem.

            1. Kyle says:

              And what is it about this article that leads you to believe that they didn’t “ask first professionally” or do their “due diligence”?

              Nothing written here states that they first plugged in before being barred access, and in reality they pursued all the appropriate channels, and offered the council, information, solutions, city involvement, and money to cover ALL costs.

  2. GSP says:

    Totally unacceptable behavior.

    In the future more people will drive PEVs and understand what a hardship it is not to have a plug where you park at night. How would the condo board feel if someone put a boot on their car, immobilizing it, and then would not even listen to requests to have it removed?

    In the meantime, PEV owners will need to check out charging at any new residence carefully before committing to rent or purchase. Charging arrangements are just as important as parking arrangements for any new residence.

    GSP

    1. See Through says:

      I have a gas car. Can I steal my landlord’s tank of gas, meant for his mower, and put it into my car’s gas tank?

      STEALING is bad, doesn’t matter what you steal.

      Electricity is NOT FREE! I hope they learnt their lesson well.

      1. tiburonh says:

        BUT THEY OFFERED TO PAY!

  3. James Haberberger says:

    Condo and homeowners associations are typically that way. They don’t care about anything but getting the ownership dues and most of them are on a power trip. Their ignorance about electric vehicles and their reaction to the condo owner is shameful and morally inept.

    1. tm says:

      Amen, bunch of angry people on the board with no real important jobs or special purpose in life. They just like the power to be able to force things onto people.

  4. Lou Grinzo says:

    I constantly harp on two points re:the EVolution, and both come into play in this situation:

    1. The primary obstacle to widespread adoption of cars with plugs is not technical or even economic, but education. The overwhelming majority of people today in the US and most OECD countries still have wild misconceptions about what EVs/PHEVs are, their benefits to individuals and society, etc.

    2. Because of various factors, including education and declining battery prices, we’re still in the fairly early stages of a profound shift in transportation. That will not be a smooth or monotonic path, and there will be some entities — homeowners associations, Toyota, etc. — that have to be coerced via market forces and/or regulation to wake up and follow the rest of the world.

  5. MDEV says:

    Education is the problem, I recently signed a contract of purchasing a property in National Harbor Maryland, pending of the HOA of approval of my Tesla charging station, so far the association say yes but I know they still need more education. most of people believe that EVs are like a factory sucking power, they have no idea that is as easy as plug in a wall AC. once I move in I have plans to be part of the HOA and make our condo EV friendly and show them the benefits of it. I’m sure this will increase the property desirability and values.

    1. alohart says:

      If the parking area of your condo has sufficient excess power to allow you and presumably other EV owners to each install EVSE’s (the Tesla wall charger wants a healthy 50-amp circuit, I believe), you are indeed lucky. The parking area in my condo does not have sufficient excess power and requires us to run a charging circuit from downstream of our apartment electric meter. But the meter bank that contains our meter does not have much excess power available, so there’s concern that too many charging circuit installations with EV owners charging during peak power demand could trip circuit breakers that would shut off power off to the apartments whose meters are in this meter bank. So it can be tough to retrofit charging circuits to existing circuits that were not designed for the significant power requirements of EV charging.

      1. MDEV says:

        I would be Ok if the circuit allow a NEMA 14-30 which is more than enough for me. I commute 50 miles a day I recharge in 3 hours.

      2. ClarksonCote says:

        I find it hard to believe that an apartment’s meter is anywhere near close to capacity. Most of them are grossly oversized, to the point that a small factory could use them. I could be mistaken though, I obviously haven’t seen your apartment’s meters but that explanation sounds more like a scare tactic or unknown risk that the owners are stating.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Yeah but Clarkson – if 20 model S owners decide they want to put in 80 amp wall stations thats 400 kw (using Tesla’s numbers) of additional load. If it is done piecemeal then how come the first guy who asks gets it but the next guy doesn’t because they’re at capacity? I know my numbers are large, but it illustrates the point that many here don’t realize is that in a house you are dealing with only one charging car, but in an apartment situation if you will eventually have a significant number of ev’s then its best to limit each ev to 1.4 kw or less.

      3. Alonso Perez says:

        This is not a real issue either. The way this works is that if you are the sole EV owner, your power draw is negligible on a 15 amp circuit.

        Then if lots of EV owners start showing up and major electrical work is required, you will have a business case to do so. Nobody will be expecting to get free power in a condo.

        Owners should be happy to add another income source from their property.

        1. Gary says:

          My 2013 Chevy Volt pulls 12 amps @ 120 volt in “normal” charge mode or 8 amps @ 120 volt in “reduced” charge mode. Hardly negligible. (and my home 230 volt charger pulls 30 amps on a 60 amp dedicated circuit)

          1. Sparkler says:

            The default mode is 8A, you need to select 12A every time to charge at that rate.

  6. Priusmaniac says:

    Perhaps he could have solved with an individual solar charging station, but underground there is indeed no solution.

  7. Taser54 says:

    Due dillegence was not done by the renters (completly their fault). This simple a kerfuffle that the market will easily address.

    1. Mark H says:

      Correct

  8. Jesse Gurr says:

    Do we know if the plug is even rated for the 12-15 amps needed? What if there are other things on that circuit that we can’t see?

    1. Nate says:

      This should be a non-issue. Volt’s 110 EVSE defaults to 8amps. You can (manually) bump it up to 12amp in the charging in the charging settings in the car.

    2. Bill Howland says:

      Yeah, the Plug is good for 12 amps, but the volt and the floor polisher on the same circuit wont wash, and then the embarrassment of paying 3 maintenance worker’s salaries waiting for the HOA to show up to change the fuse or reset the cb.

  9. Scott Franco says:

    Unmentioned is the fact that the condo was very unlikely to have metering on that socket, and probably had no way to accurately judge the amount of power being used. Most of those garage sockets are utility, used by maintenance personnel. They are on the same circuit/panel as the lights.

    I would have come to the owners with a power estimate. Its probably likely the owners had an unrealistic idea of how much power was involved.

  10. vdiv says:

    What’s the purpose of the outlet in the garage? As condo owners don’t they own part of the garage? They don’t permission in my view and they have communicated their intention.

  11. Blind Guy says:

    You’re not doing the Blind community any favors by playing the “Blind Card” in this situation. Although I hate HOAs and property management companies even more, the proper thing to do was to get written permission first. IMO, the only way that HOAs will allow EVs to charge will be on dedicated lines, not existing outlets.

  12. PJS says:

    Not to mention insurance concerns when a bad cord burns the place down.

    1. Alonso Perez says:

      Sorry but it’s a bit hard for me to imagine a significant fire on a concrete column. Not to mention, there are these things called circuit breakers.

      Fire is a non-issue in that garage, unless the car itself caught fire, and that can happen with any car.

  13. Stan says:

    This article does not surprise me. Our HOA does not even allow solar panels on the roof of the house. You can however plant as many satellites as you want on the roof…..

    1. Dan says:

      What state do you live in? In California it is illegal for an HOA to prevent the homeowner from installing Solar.

  14. Sean says:

    Before I purchased my LEAF I approached the owner of a parking garage I park at during the day for work about utilizing existing plugs for my car, including offering to cover electricity costs. They were not interested in entertaining the idea and I let it go and still purchased the LEAF. As luck would have it a charge station was installed a few months later right next door.

    In any case I would never plug in without getting approval from the owner of the plug.

  15. prsist says:

    Do you think HOA’s would disappear of people stopped buying homes and condos with HOA’s? People think the HOA improves their neighborhoods through strict standards. Really? Do you really want a total stranger coming to your door and telling you how to manage your own personal property?? That defies sanity! Stop buying where HOA’s exist and you will never have to put up with this type of crap.

    1. PJS says:

      Right, but you may have to deal with your neighbors parking cars on their lawn as well as many other mindless acts…

  16. Dan says:

    At work we have a parking garage and there outlets on every floor. Even if I offered to pre-pay for electricity I would not expect the garage owner to allow me to charge and here is why.

    The outlets are most likely shared on one or two breakers and they use them for maintenance equipment.

    The last thing the owners want is a phone call from workers, who are getting paid by the hour, saying the breaker has tripped only to find my Leaf charging on one of the outlets.

    If I were serious about wanting to charge in the garage I would approach the owner about wiring a dedicated circuit and offer to pay for it and then negotiate some terms about the electricity use.

    1. io says:

      This, exactly.

      Plus, like others have mentioned, the whole precedent-setting issue.

    2. Kyle says:

      Which is exactly what they did. This story is about a strata that was too lazy to work out a civilized arrangement. Not enough facts in the story to sway either way, but I find it funny how many people assume the couple were “stealing” or made no initial attempts to ask.

  17. Omar Sultan says:

    While the handling by the HOA did not seem ideal, I think they do have to legit concerns:

    1) While the cost of charging a Volt is minimal, it does set a bad precedent – where do you draw the line on use of community owned resources like outlets, hose bibs, etc

    2) There is a liability issue for the HOA. If there is an electrical fault that damages the Volt, the HOA can potentially be held liable

    These are solvable problems, but it takes someone on the HOA that is willing to take the time and expend the effort to do so.

    1. Kyle says:

      #2 is not an issue, it’s an excuse. As long as work is done to code, there can not be a liability concern.

      #1 is EASILY solvable by anyone who spends more than 15 seconds thinking about it.

      This is sheer laziness, and lack of education on part of the Strata, nothing more. They didn’t want to put any effort in, as this was the only couple in the building with this request. And one of maybe 10 or so in the entire city with an EV.

      There is no rationale excuse to say “no” in this scenario

  18. Ian says:

    Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink….

  19. Bill Howland says:

    Well, I’m not that familiar with Canadian codes, but in the states you really can’t plug in to just any old outlet unless the charger draws under 51% of the capacity of the circuit (I’m assuming 15 amps here since it is a nema 5-15), so that would be 7 1/2 amps max. 8 amps is the minimum the volt will go so it is technically illegal and the more important thing is as was mentioned, who pays the 3 $20 an hour maintenace guys’ wages while someone finds the fuse or cb to reset that the circuit can’t run the floor polisher and the volt at the same time?

    If its BC I thought they had ridiculously cheap juice but that’s a side issue as I’ll explain:

    My nephew borrowed my volt and 110 docking station and took it to a friend’s house back in march. Unfortunately, that particular month the normally 12 cents per kilowatt-hour spiked to 21 cents and plugging in at his friend’s house for 1 hour was blamed for a $90 increase in the electric bill since the only thing that changed in the friend’s house minds was that the volt was plugged in for an hour! Try to explain to someone that even at exhorbitant rates, the thing only used 25 to 35 cents falls on deaf ears.

    1. The NEMA codes in the USA allow for 80% of the circiut rating for a continuous load.

      For 15 amp breakers, that is 12 amps.
      For 30 amp breakers, that is 24 amps.
      For 40 amp breakers, that is 32 amps.
      For 50 amp breakers, that is 40 amps.
      For 100 amp breakers, that is 80 amps.

      It’s no surprise, those are the typical charge station amperages.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Unfortunately, doesn’t apply to the situation in the article since it wasn’t a dedicated outlet, and the non-volt load is unknown to the volt owner.

      2. Bill Howland says:

        Tony, you’ve misunderstood that I’m talking about a multi-outlet scenario. Then the 50% ‘permmanence’ rule applies.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Tony , you are confusing the National Electrical Manufacturers Association with the National Fire Protection Association.