Nissan LEAF Owner Vs Home Owner’s Association – News Video

FEB 26 2015 BY JAY COLE 50

It’s a classic battle.  A trendy electric vehicle (and condo) owner wants to plug-in her car versus an HOA who enjoys Lawrence Welk reruns on PBS, and is afraid of any new technology,  who says no.

Oil and water.

...and then this happened.

…and then this happened.

But this time it is a little different.  In this case, the condo owner already has a dedicated plug, in an enclosed private garage; and the EV in question – a Nissan LEAF,  has already been purchased – for her mother, who lives in her house (I will be linking this story to my own child later).

The Nissan LEAF owner naturally has been denied use of the plug, despite offers to more than pay for any electrical charges to the HOA.

Not happy with the result, and out of options, she took the fight to the local news.

That is when ABC 10 crashes the next HOA meeting (with camera in hand) after being turned down an information request over the phone by HOA President Ted Batton, “I work for a living and don’t answer HOA questions during my work day.”

The live action goodness doesn’t disappoint.  And while there has yet to be resolution to the situation, we can say that the HOA president has been removed from his position since the incident.

ABC 10 News, Hat tip to offib!

Categories: Charging, Nissan


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50 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Owner Vs Home Owner’s Association – News Video"

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HMMM, Again nothing was said about whether that outlet was on the same circuit as all the other garages (as is typical).

So when she is charging her leaf, she may be denying others the opportunity to use their outlet.

HOA had a good point about a separate meter and a dedicated circuit. Lady was unwilling to pay for the real cost of installing a proper circuit.

And I did read your article, but I believe the reporter’s characterization of the circuit is incorrect (relying on the owner to say it is a separate circuit). It is a separate plug, but it is not a separate circuit.

The circuit should be able to handle EV’s charging in that entire row of garages, otherwise they are just kicking the can down the road and will have to upgrade the circuit in the future as more condo owners in her development get EVs.

Umm, you can’t run a 300-amp line to 20 outlets just so they can all draw 15 amps at once. That’s nuts.

NEVER buy a home with an HOA!! Do you really want your neighbor telling you how you have to live? Telling you what color you can paint your house? Telling you to mow your grass? Telling you what light socket you can use?

Waiting, the horrible thing about living in an HOA is that they can tell you not to do stuff that would be fun/cool/normal. The great thing about HOA’s is that they keep you neighbors from doing stuff that they think would be fun/cool/normal. They are a mixed blessing. I live in a condo and live within the same sort of limits and all in all, I am cool with it.

Well, I can sort of understand why they’d want to have a separate meter and have dedicated wiring. At minimum they should make sure the wiring can adequately handle 12 amps for long periods of time and inspect the condition of the outlet. Then they could use something like a kill-a-watt meter or something to measure how much energy is used so that it can be paid for.

But – what I find unacceptable is that they would not allow the lady to come into the meeting and discuss it.

I can totally understand why the HOA would require a metered circuit for EV charging. If the HOA allows one owner to charge an EV on the shared garage circuit, it would have to allow all EV owners to do the same. The circuit wasn’t designed for such use.

The Leaf owner needs to do what I did: pay to have a dedicated metered EV charging circuit installed in her garage. Doing so could be a pain in the butt from a building permit perspective and it could be expensive, but it’s the right thing to do. An EV charging circuit could increase the value of her condo as well.

The way that long yellow electrical cord is hanging off all those nails looks like a fire hazard.

A few points: 1). That extension cord appears to be #14 AWG. It is not too tightly wrapped therefore it should ventilate. But then that leads to question 2). 2). If that cord is running something critical, and high power (in this country, casually used extension cords are #16 – so it appears to be installed for a reason and its running a high powered item all ready). So if this is a 15 or even 20 amp branch circuit it is likely, due to the heavy extension cord powering something else, that the circuit cannot withstand an additional 12 amps. SD&E’s pricing is amoungst the highest in the country.. For a SMALL COMMERCIAL LOAD (the house meter of a HOA is *NOT* a residential load, unfortunately). Lets say she needs 300 kwh per month on average. At 20 cents/kwh that would be around $60 per month, and not $28. It would be nice if the HOA would allow her to run a 15 amp circuit to her individual panel which assumedly she has her own meter already, and install an outlet off her existing meter. Unfortunately these news reports don’t get into the particulars, but it is very very… Read more »

They need to look ahead, in only a few years time everyone will have an EV so get the garages all on separate circuits now. They can raise funds by fining people who use legacy vehicles, also make them display a sign saying carbon emissions are harmful to your health – just like cigarette packs do !

Unless some people start buying hydrogen fuel-dell vehicles. 😉

Raising funds to build EV infrastructure on private property by fining the property owners who drive ICE vehicles is more than a bit extreme, and will be counterproductive. Why should EV owners be excluded from paying for EV infrastructure on their own private property? EV owners shouldn’t expect or feel entitled to other people’s money to fund their personal EV infrastructure.

Oops. . . fuel cell, not fuel dell.

I think you meant fool cell 😉

I know, I sound like I’m stuck in a loop, but this article is yet another example of the growing pains we’ll be dealing with for some time as more and more electric vehicles hit the roads. We’ll encounter some real issue, like building out enough of a QC infrastructure to ease fears of being stranded sans electrons (which I still contend are wildly overblown, but that’s another matter for another time). And we’ll also have to overcome a lot of purely psychological or sociological challenges, like clueless HOAs.

These growing pains are certainly unpleasant for those directly involved, but I urge everyone to keep the big picture in mind. We’re making remarkable *but still painfully slow for most of us) progress in this transition to electrifying transportation, with all the benefits that implies.

This story is light on details, so I won’t speculate on circuits and stuff. However two things are clear:

1. HOA have to have an open and honest dialogue about EV charging with existing and potential owners, because the wave is coming. Step ahead of the curve when you have a chance, it’s not that hard. Plenty of tools to help without making things over-complicated.

2. EV owners have to understand that trickle-charging is not appropriate for regular use. Not because it’s wrong for the car but because it may be wrong for the home electrical system. 15A circuits are set for “light” loads and you never know what is hiding in the walls, how things are wired and where the weak points are. You really should swallow the pill and install a dedicated charging station, or at the very least a dedicated separate circuit direct from the panel. The latter option is acceptable if you’re willing to put up with the insanely slow trickle charge as your primary method.

Also it helps to validate all that BEFORE you but the car…

Trickle charging is perfectly acceptable for full time use. If you are on a 15A circuit, you will only be drawing a continuous load of 12A which meets the 80% rule. If the circuit can’t handle 12A sustained load, it’s faulty and should be remedied. If the circuit is overloaded, the home owner should either pay for the upgrades, or the HOA should make the change for future proofing.

Good point, Chevy Volt defaults to 8A and if you want 12A the driver should manually choose it before charging. I assume Leaf would prefer 12A given a slightly bigger battery but 15A is big enough.

Not necessarily true.

Your house have many different 120V 15A that are on the same 20A breakers.

So, if you plug in 2 hair dryer on two different 15A outlet that are on the same breaker, then it will pop…

The issue here is that we don’t know how the HOA garage wirings are configured. Many of the HOA garages expect each to have a “light duty” use some few of those garages outlets could share the same breaker.

With that said, it is NOT unreasonable to ask the owner of EV to do an electric inspection and pay for the upgrades if necessary. But the attitude and approach of the HOA board should have been nicer.

Just “offering to pay slightly more than $28” is usually arrogant way of EV owners to think that is “all it takes”.

So, I think it is fault of both sides. EV owners underestimate the need and HOA boards aren’t pro-actively supporting the issue.

Very good coveage by ABC10. While it lacked detail on the circuit, it was not the main part on the story. (more of site specific, best reviewed by a qualified person)

ABC10 reporter did great job of highlighting that EV charging will be something a HOA will need to prepare to address. The reporter noted that monthly cost could be easily determined by data from local utility. The fact the EV owner is willing to pay fair costs kept the story focused on the issue of charging access. Reporter also made excelent closing points in “51% of residents in Sam Doego live in multi-family communities and 40% of EVs. In the US are in California; so this will be something an increasing number of HOA’s need to accommodate”.

Overall a great educational video, in that can be referenced by any EV owner. Being in the news helps to show that residential EV charging is becoming increasingly common.

Excellent. I like your take on the story.

Funny how technical-types that frequent EV websites want to dissect the mechanics of the charging structure shown in the garage while missing the major point of the story!

Perhaps EV associations in major population centers need to step out and provide a packet to HOAs and developers for future-proofing their parking areas and preventing this inevitable conflict that likely will occur.

California already has laws to protect EV owners’s interest to have “access” to charging AS LONG AS THE OWNER IS WILLING TO PAY FOR ALL INFRASTRUCTURE RELATED COST.

That is the missing story. If she had offered to pay for “upgrades” associated with the access of charging instead of just offering some money above $28, it would have been resolved nicer.

HOA board did ask the owner to pay for a seperate meter and upgrade of the wiring. That is well within the California law on “right to access of charging”.

In Canada, where plugs for block heaters are common at apartment building parkings, outlets are connected to apartment meters, as regulated in building codes. Building code is the best place to address this problem.

Absolutely. And the block heater example provides a good precedent that shows it can easily be done.

“Lawrence Welk” LOL

I wonder if the level of electrical service, in a detached condo garage, is ever specified at purchase? If I were a judge, and it wasn’t, I’d say the association owes her 15 amps. The EV doesn’t matter. She can pay her share. Done.

Moral: If you can’t get bees with honey, go with “Team 10”.

One of the many reasons it has always been my policy not to buy homes subject to a HOA.

The HOA guy was made to look like the bad guy, but the fact is, a news team cannot just barge into a meeting and demand to take it over. That’s just rude.

Normally I would agree 100%, for instance if the HOA had been responsive and co-operative.

But if the HOA refuses to respond to polite requests, it makes sense to escalate, and this is one way to do it.

Transparency is key to good governance. I think publicizing the issue with a local news was a brilliant move by this woman to expose a bad policy.

I agree. It’s unfortunate that much of the press is no longer willing to embrace their very important role. IMO, too often members of the press now act like government parrots.

The HOA guy made himself look like the bad guy. The reporter called beforehand and was blown off. She arrived early to the meeting, and was blown off. She asked if they could talk outside and was blown off. Headline: Public Relations 101 Bites Man.

Well said. In no way was the reporter trying to “take over” a meeting which hadn’t even started. She was asking entirely pertinent questions at the correct venue, and was met with refusal to even discuss the issue. Refusal by someone who clearly did not deserve the authority he had been given.

In fact, this reporter was doing exactly what local news should do a lot more of… and a lot less of the cakewalk “police blotter” stories. Bravo for her!

But there was no meeting going on & he still wasn`t willing to talk.

They came before the meeting, and started by verifying that the meeting had not started.

Checking on whether you will be allowed to plug in your electric vehicle before you buy/lease it is probably a good way to avoid a lot of these issues.
I worked with my condo to get permission and they took a while but they came up with a solution that works pretty well. I pay an extra $25 a month and they installed a plug for me. Electricity has gotten a bit more expensive here in Northern Virginia, it used to be 8 cents now it is closer to 10.
Do condos pay a lower rate than residential electricity customers pay? Because EIA stats show that Commercial electricity customers pay around 15% less than residential customers. Not sure if a business/condo gets the commercial rate though. The condo pays for the electricity and natural gas and then we pay our share of it in our condo fee based on the size of our condo.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but condos are residential buildings. Commercial buildings include stores and offices. The third category, for purposes of electricity rates, is industrial.

Yes, but as I’ve mentioned the HOA house meter to run the garage complex is *NOT* a residential load, it is commercial.

If there is not time of day metering, then the solution is easy. Buy $25 worth of metering equipment, and install a dedicated #14 (15 amp) circuit back to the garage loadcenter. THE HOA can put a seal on the meter, and the mother can just pay the HOA for the electricity used.

Assuming a 23 Kw electric service for the bank of garages, another 1.5 kw should be allowed for several tenants who drive electric vehicles. I’d make them 115/230 volt 3 wire ckts at 15 amps so they could also have an RV outlet for the Teslas that are no doubt popular in SD and don’t charge at all at 115. The tesla owner would be on their honor to charge at 12 amps/ 230 volts, since even on a Tesla, that is reasonably efficient and speedy.


Here’s what’s going to happen.
The HOA will upgrade the electrical then charge up the ass for the use of the upgraded circuit.

From the ABC article:
“Under the Davis-Stirling Act, HOAs cannot stop an owner from requesting to install an electric vehicle charging station, but they don’t have to pay for it.”

A sign of the times. Good for Channel 10. Please post a follow up. I’d like to hear what happens.

What ever happened to the other lady that went through this? I think she offered to pay $50/month and they still wouldn’t let her plug in. That story was also covered by the local news.

She offered to pay $50ish for THREE months.

The president of that HOA reminded me of Grandpa Simpson.

HOA President is addicted to oil.

This actually seems like discrimination AGAINST EV’s. Every garage has a plug, and all the other people are allowed to plug in whatever they want into their plugs in their garage and they don’t have to pay for it. Plugging in their block heaters for their gas engines is apparently fine. This is like the Hot Tub in an HOA facility. People who use the Hot Tub burn a ton of energy, but they aren’t charged for it. Everybody pays. If you don’t like paying for something you don’t use, your only choice is to use the Hot Tub. Same for common workout rooms with electric workout machines and TV’s. Heated pools. Climate controlled garages and/or storage units where not everybody owns a car or a storage unit. Christmas lights for the facility when not everybody celebrates Christmas. Collectively paying for energy that not everybody uses or benefits from is the norm in HOA communities. So why are they singling out this person for using the same outlet that everybody else is free to use without charge? They are being more than reasonable offering to pay extra to charge their car, while everybody who uses pools, weight rooms, etc pay… Read more »

So since everyone is allowed to use the community pool/weight room/hot tub that they are all paying for, I presume that in your scenario, everyone will also have access to the Leaf that they are all paying for?

If not, your comparison has a fatal flaw.

That HOA president was a jerk plain and simple. He wanted to throw his weight around, but not actually deal with the issues. Saying no with no explanation is not dealing with the issue.

We can’t really discuss the specifics of the issue since there isn’t enough information.

I have said this over and over in every FCV article.

The idea that BEVs will work for everyone is not rational. Many, many people who do not live in single-family residences with personal garages will face similar resistance.

And the applicable law says that the HOA must allow her to install an EVSE. It DOES NOT say that they must let her use existing, unmetered outlets at the rate she thinks she will use. So if she doesn’t feel like dropping several grand on a separately metered circuit, the EVSE law will not help her one bit.