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Usage of common property utilities (power, water)
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Kenny R
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16/12/2015 - 9:33 am
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I am wondering what is the rule, if any, regarding use of a building's (or in my case, townhouse complex) power and water. The example is use of the common property power from the general garage by builders for power tools when cutting timber or tiles for an individual lot owner's internal renovations. We (the EC) claim that they should use power from their own unit, which is possible with the use of leads or they do it on the property. The power outlet is adjacent to the car-wash area in the garage and is clearly intended for that use - cleaning and vacuuming of resident's cars.

Any thoughts please?

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Marvin
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16/12/2015 - 7:33 pm
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Are you concerned about the cost of power usage to the owners?  Running a circular saw for one hour non-stop will cost less than a dollar.  These tools aren't used non-stop.  The cost is probably insignificant.  Water is even cheaper.

Do you have a process for approving renovations?  Impose a condition that requires the contractors to use lot power only.  Then you can shut them down if they use common power.

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Sir Humphrey
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16/12/2015 - 9:48 pm
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The power consumption would be trivial and pursuing the matter (when surely there are more important matters to attend to) would make the EC seem petty. Any owner at could occasionally have trades people needing access to power. Regard it as a generally useful facility available to whoever needs it. To take a substantial amount of power would require being plugged in with something high powered running continuously for weeks. 

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Kenny R
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17/12/2015 - 9:17 am
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Thanks Flat Chatters - I do share your views on the probably insignificant nature of any utilities cost. The matter has been raised by other residents who feel the common utilities should not be used for private purposes, so I wanted to get an idea of what other strata bodies feel. We are implementing a renovation application process and will include "reasonable" restrictions on such usage.

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isydowner
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17/12/2015 - 8:16 pm
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If everyone is paying through levies anyhow, even tradies doing work, it would be very petty to stop anyone using common property electricity, especially if it is for short term or minor usage... More important things to worry about than stealing electricity. In fact, you could argue everyone has just as much right to use these services irrespective of whether other owners do or don't!

Without sounding argumentative, your post sounds like you are being autocratic rather than looking after other owners.......

(the remainder of this para was unnecessarily argumentative and was therefore deleted - Whale)

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Boronia
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24/12/2015 - 8:12 am
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Kenny R said
 The power outlet is adjacent to the car-wash area in the garage and is clearly intended for that use - cleaning and vacuuming of resident's cars.

Any thoughts please?

Seems you are quite happy for residents (presumably including yourself) to use the common electricity supply to clean cars, rather than have them use a lead from their own lot supply?

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isydowner
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25/12/2015 - 9:29 pm
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Boronia said

Kenny R said
 The power outlet is adjacent to the car-wash area in the garage and is clearly intended for that use - cleaning and vacuuming of resident's cars.

Any thoughts please?

Seems you are quite happy for residents (presumably including yourself) to use the common electricity supply to clean cars, rather than have them use a lead from their own lot supply?

Honestly, this is such a superfluous issue... If they are 'stealing' electricity from the OC, being themselves as well, within the communal car wash area, I take it your in a 'big' enough scheme not to even notice.

Even so, there is bound to be minimal cost and maybe put levies up by say $5 annually to cover this behaviour... It will be worth it rather than singling someone unnecessarily and creating a much bigger issue than was ever necessary.

Look at Sahade v Bischoff [2015] NSWCA 418 (23 December 2015) ar, their strata issues have now gotten so bad it has escalated into criminal proceedings and I'd hate for ANYONE on here (all flat-chat users) to end up feeling so bad, so utterly victimised, that they would have such venom for one other!

Heck, both parties could have done some truely amazing things for their scheme if they were only willing to accept each other as equal neighbours. No doubt they'll have had their worst Christmas ever having to deal with this at this time of the year!

I was very saddened to read this case as they have both been up at each other's throats in court and at our lovely Tribunal (it was NCAT who had failed them miserably). It should never have gotten so bad, or gone this far... I don't care who was wrong or right, they both are victims of the current Strata System and I can only thank Victor Dominello for achieving much needed strata law reforms... I can only hope his Regulations go so far as to remove every possible notion of oppressive behaviour against individual owners too!!

I am sure your scheme has much more important issues than this and if it doesn't, please tell us all where it is as I'd love to live there... I really mean that as it sounds like a paradise compared to my scheme!

 

WHALE: [I am unsure what comments I said that we're argumentative but I cannot condone bullying of any sort, especially in strata schemes... So I apologise for any offence but understand it was only meant to enlighten our fellow users and maybe discourage childish gang mentality.] 

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melbrandle
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09/02/2016 - 6:46 pm
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I'm not too sure that there's any issue with people using common power. After all, they live in the compound and pay for utilities and maintenance like everyone else. Much like at our facilities, where we close one eye when someone needs a little power since they're paying rent. Not on a regular basis of course, but once off, the cost to us is negligible.

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excathedra
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10/02/2016 - 7:16 am
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I agree that occasional and intermittent use can be accepted, but it would be a different matter if someone started hogging the communal power point  to keep the shiny new Tesla charged for daily use!

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Tim349VicPl
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06/12/2017 - 3:12 pm
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Wow

now that's a new potential issue - keeping the Tesla charged!

Should each garage area have its own electrical meter? 

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JimmyT
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06/12/2017 - 3:38 pm
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This is an increasingly significant issue in apartments and City of Sydney has been conducting surveys to discover if people want the facility and what form it should take.  CoS has more apartments than any other council area in Australia, so their findings are significant.

Apparently most inner-city apartment residents think they will move to electric in the next 10 years (partly because they travel less than 50 km a week by car) and the majority of residents favour a user-pays metered system, possibly utilising visitor parking bays.   

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Sir Humphrey
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07/12/2017 - 9:58 am
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Speaking as one who has been driving an EV for 9 years, I would say, if possible, that the best would be a relatively cheap, slow, standard outlet for each unit at its allocated space. Icing on the cake might be a single fast charger in one of the visitor spaces. 

People who don't have EVs tend to assume that you would want to charge like you do now with petrol. That is, that you go to a special place for refilling, that refilling is rapid, that you only refill when near empty.

In practice, with an EV, it is more convenient to plug in for a top up whenever you are home. Home charging does not need to be rapid. If you are home for a few hours before going out again you get a useful top up even from an ordinary 10A power point even if you are not full before going out for another local trip. If you are plugged in overnight, you will be full in the morning and you don't care whether you got to full at midnight or 3AM. 

Ideally, single outlets in allocated spaces would be wired back to the meters for the individual units. That way, electricity consumption would appear on the units' own meters automatically without any need to involve the OC. Unit owners would be free to choose time of use metering or any other deal offered by the retailer of their choice. The units could also fund the wiring as required as EV uptake proceeds. The OC just needs to make sure that the wiring meets standards and is done by a competent person in a consistent manner.  I would suggest the OC should not permit more than 15A outlets to avoid overloading the supply to the site. Also, to ensure that the last person is able to have the same quality of facility as the first person. 

If it is not practical to run cabling from the unit meters to the allocated parking spaces, then the OC will have to meter what it supplies to individual unit and bill those units accordingly. 

It is possible that the available supply will not cope with a carpark full of cars all charging at their maximum rates. Systems exist to manage this automatically. A standard EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) can 'talk' to the on-board charger and negotiate the charge rate. So, for example, a set of linked EVSEs might start out with (say) 15 cars plugged in attempting to charge from an 100A supply (a single typical domestic supply). The EVSEs will tell all the cars that they can only draw 6A each. Charging will proceed slowly. Some of the cars are likely to have only driven a short distance and will be full quite quickly even with this slow charging. After (say) 5 or 6 cars have dropped off, the EVSEs will tell the remaining cars they can now charge at 10A. Charging proceeds more rapidly, though still slow, and eventually a few more are full. The EVSEs tell the remaining cars they can charge at yet higher rates, while staying under the 100A max for the supply. Eventually there might be only a couple left and they are told they can charge at (say) 32A. One of the cars might be able to take 32A but another might max out at 15A anyway. Such systems can record the total kWhs sent to each outlet for billing purposes. 

Further elaborations might be that the OC gets time of use metering so that charging off peak is cheaper. Those who want to charge at peak times can do so and might charge relatively quickly as others are avoiding the peak. They would pay a premium for the privilege. Those who don't need the charge immediately would have their cars set to only ask for charging in off peak times and would save some money. 

A tricky question for retrofitting is how to fund it when only a few people will have an EV at first. In my OC, I have worked out that we would probably have an interim arrangement whereby some ordinary 15A outlets are installed at the unit owners cost as a temporary measure for the first 3-4 units in each of our five parking areas. This would be within the spare capacities of our five existing electricity supply boxes.  A sub-meter on each of the lines to each of the 15A outlets would let the OC bill each unit for its consumption at a flat per kWh rate. Eventually, we would have to remove those outlets and instead install a comprehensive system of linked EVSEs as described above. 

I don't think people would want just a single or a few shared charge points in a visitor area. You want to plug in when you get home and let charging sort itself out. You don't want to have to always charge at a rapid rate (not good for the battery) and you don't want to have to go back to the carpark to move the car to let others charge and you don't want to find you have been blocked from charging by other cars sitting in the charging spaces. 

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Lady Penelope
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07/12/2017 - 11:25 am
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Thanks SH.

This info will be very useful as we all move forward with this 'new' option in our individual 'strata-lands' .

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