ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN HOAs – the CONTINUING SAGA

As you know, I write about a lot of subjects and actually get a
lot of help from readers who research things I do not have time to research
everything!  This is true with all of the
questions surrounding the new law in California relating to charging electric vehicles.
It is a hot topic! I have done several presentations on the new laws and since
the EVC Stations law is so new, sometimes I come away with more questions than
answers. By reading earlier blogs (there are two found on the main page at my
website at www.californiacondoguru.com)
and earlier E-newsletters (found on the same page on my website), you can catch
up to the discussion. For those of you that are behind, after 1/1/2012
homeowner association boards are hard pressed to refuse an  owner who wants to charge their electric vehicle
in the development.

 

So here is the latest problem sent in an email which was
triggered by a most difficult situation which arises in a homeowners
association where the owners use common electricity but have garages. An owner
has a 110V outlet in the garage and plugs in an electric vehicle to charge
overnight so the vehicle presents a constant drain on the system, and the
association noticed a spike in the electricity bills recently. So we were
discussing possible solutions via email and I received this from the reader:

 

“Beth, aside from the dilemma in definitions, a couple of us
have hit on a possible solution to “collecting” and transmitting power
consumption. PG&E may be able to sub meter HO usage of a HOA 110v outlet,
located, for example, in a garage, ostensibly to operate the garage door or for
other incidental purposes, such a freezer or an electronic tool. A commercial
company I researched provides sub meters for commercial equipment, such as
freezers in stores, to study efficiency. Power consumption is sent wireless to
a receiver, the same or similar to PG&E’s smart meter.

SB 209 creates new HOA issues, like who would pay for
installation of a sub meter? What changes would have to be made to CCRS? If a
sub meter is one solution, would the HO with the EV need to comply if the law
is unclear about the definition of “charging satiations,” within the context of
110v “trickle” charging? How does one deal with a can of worms? I don’t fish.
Blogging is more fun.”

I agree about blogging. It is more fun! This situation is harder
to manage than one where there is no power and the association can prescribe
the required electric charging station under SB 209. That bill requires an
owner to pay for the electricity to charge an electric vehicle so as a baseline
right the association could, I believe, require some kind of submeter that
could be read so that the amount of electricity used could be metered, and the
charges be determined. Some of the remaining questions are:

 

  1. Whether the association can require
    the owner to install some kind of power management system that prevents a
    constant drain on the system;
  2. Whether the association can require
    a higher voltage outlet be installed so that the charging would be more
    efficient and use less actual charging time;
  3. How much expense the association
    could require under the law as prescribed; and
  4. What the Association could do if
    owners do not cooperate.

 

These are questions that need to be resolved and I imagine
different attorneys will come up with different solutions so the best advice I
can give is work with an attorney that is familiar with HOA and Condo matters
and documents, knows how to assess your particular situation, and has a good
sense of how far an association can push a member to take measures so the full
responsibility of the charges can be accounted for and collected from the
owner. These analyses require review of the governing documents as well as the
law to determine options, architectural processes, legal authority and available
and viable assessment, fine and cost alternatives.

 

I will continue to investigate, share and receive information on
solutions to coping with the new law in California regulating electric vehicle
charging. I hope you will continue to check in and offer solutions that have
worked in your associations as time goes on. Together, we can figure this out!!
Clearly, encouraging electric vehicle use has its advantages. I recently
circulated a free E-newsletter on the topic that is archived at my site at www.californiacondoguru.com on
the main page. Sign up while you are there! You will receive amazing helpful
information each month.

 

 

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2 Responses to ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN HOAs – the CONTINUING SAGA
  1. Beth Grimm
    May 3, 2012 | 6:34 am

    I am glad to hear that EVs are constituting a 10% portion of sales. More would be better of course. The charging of EVs is presenting some challenges for HOAS. I hope they can be worked out gracefully.

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