BC Hydro introduces fast-charging fees starting May 1

Small jolt to the wallet

Electric vehicle owners are about to get a jolt to the wallet.

BC Hydro will begin charging electric vehicle owners who use their fast-charging stations as of May 1, 2021.

"For many years, we have provided free charging at our electric vehicle fast-charging stations across the province, but electric vehicles are becoming more popular, and we need to expand our network now to keep up with the growing number of British Columbians making the switch to an EV," said BC Hydro's Susie Rieder.

British Columbia is a leader in electric vehicle sales in North America, with more than 50,000 light-duty electric vehicles on the road in B.C. at the end of 2020. That number is expected to rise to about 635,000 by 2030. Rieder says implementing a charging rate now means BC Hydro will be able to fully support further growth of its infrastructure.

"We’ve been working hard to let EV drivers know about the changes for several months. This includes updates to our website, e-newsletter, direct emails to customers that use our fast-charging stations and through social media."

The BC Utilities Commission approved the following interim rates for BC Hydro’s EV charging stations:

  • 25-kilowatt power level: 12 cents/min ($3.60 for 30-minute charging session)
  • 50-kilowatt power level: 21 cents/min ($6.30 for 30-minute charging session)
  • 100-kilowatt power level: 27 cents/min ($8.10 for 30-minute charging session)

The rates were based on feedback BC Hydro received from electric vehicle drivers as well as information collected on how other jurisdictions were charging their customers.

"Paying $8 to $14 to charge up the car while on a trip is reasonable. We all like getting things for free, but I feel that having to pay for charging will help minimize abuse," said Kelowna electric vehicle owner Troy Ryder.

He believes the move might even help encourage some drivers to be more courteous.

"Some people use these locations as free parking spots, so having something in place to encourage them to move along after they've finished charging will end up helping others who need to charge their electric vehicle."

Ryder, who drives a Tesla, says the car maker has come up with incentives to help prevent people from taking advantage of the situation.

"Tesla takes it a step further and will charge idle fees after a charge session is complete if you're at a busy charging location."

BC Hydro says choosing an electric vehicle will help drivers significantly reduce carbon emissions because BC Hydro’s electricity is generated from 96 per cent clean or renewable resources.

Provincial and federal rebates of up to $8,000 are available for the purchase of a battery-electric EV, as well as home charger rebates up to $350 through BC Hydro.

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