Flat Chat Forum By-laws and outlaws Current Page

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  • #52341
    Avatarwebman
    Flatchatter

    I know this has been addressed multiple times here, and I’ve read everything I can find (thank you very much to those who have contributed very useful information over the years).

    I’m on a strata committee in NSW, and an owner has requested to install an EV charger in their exclusive use lot, connected directly to their own meter.

    Rewinding 2 years, I did a bunch of research around this, and at a general meeting advised of the potential issues around this (basically, its no problem for the first few, but eventually there may be capacity problems (either cable space, or power capacity) which would be better addressed before we start. So I proposed to further investigate the issues, get some quotes for suitable solutions, and come back at the next general meeting. This was voted no (almost unanimous, due I felt to the excessive arguments that had already been had over the defects process that was item 1 on the agenda), and so I ceased to do anything further (and honestly, felt I hadn’t been treated well for all the work/effort put into the OC/strata committee).

    So, nothing happened for a long time, though there was the occassional email about it, and the committee basically chose to ignore it, and the strata managers only suggestion was to get a “expert” to survey the building and provide a report, which the committee rejected due to cost.

    Recently, it was requested again, and so I added it to the next GM agenda. Our strata managers suggested process was:
    A) At the general meeting, we could approve to get a quote to have a suitable by-law written up
    B) At the next general meeting, we could approve to have the by-law written
    C) At the next general meeting, we could approve the by-law

    This seemed somewhat of a lengthy/protracted process, since it has taken over 2 years to reach this point already, so instead, I pushed the point so that we could skip A and vote on B, which was passed.

    So now, we are back to the point of deciding what should be in the bylaw, and what needs to be done to permit all owners to install EV charging in the future, instead of just the first few.

    A number on the committee seem quite biased against the entire process, and don’t want to spend any money, nor even allow any real consideration of the application to proceed.

    Here is my first question. Perhaps I’ve been overly strong in pushing the committee to take some action, and suggesting that we have to do something and/or allow the installation, or else the owner could take us to NCAT who would then allow it (since it seems to me that there is no reasonable reason to deny it, other than we can’t be bothered to make sure it’s safe). Have I overstated this, can we simply stick our head in the sand and deny the request?

    The managing agent has advised (quoted):
    There is no requirement. Who has told you that this is a requirement ? It’s not in the Strata Scheme’s Management ACT that the Owner’s Corporation must allow owners to install electric car chargers.

    Second question. Am I over-complicating this, should we get a by-law written up allowing any owner to install wiring from their meter to their parking space, as long as they maintain/repair any ongoing requirements to do with all the cabling/etc. My thoughts were that since the meters are all on level 3 of the building, there would be a capacity issue on the number of cables (physical space) that could connect from there to the carpark (below the building). The secondary concern was in relation to the overall building power draw, and if the car park power draw exceeded the building capacity, then this could result in brownouts/blackouts to the entire building.

    Would love to hear your thoughts, or from other buildings that have actually done this (I’m sure this must be a growing number, or is it only those people with free-standing homes that have the luxury of EV’s – joking).

    Thank you

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #52481
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    …But a few years ago after a string of really hot week days we hit 400A/phase. …  so there is no real way to say “we’re close to the limit, don’t charge your car”. If they were restricted to charging overnight (10pm – 6am) that would probably help since most poeople would be in bed and the sun has gone down, reducing the heat load…

    I don’t know how many units you have but if your historic peak load was 400A/phase from a 600A/phase supply, then you could supply 200A/phase to vehicle charging. Three phases x 200A would allow 10A single phase charging for 60 vehicles. If you have less than 60 units, you could safely let each unit have an ordinary 10A power point and they could all be charging in the worst possible circumstances and you would still be OK.

    As it happens there are systems to deal with exactly your example, even if you have more units. A staged adoption might include 32A single phase cabling for parking spaces but terminated in ordinary 15A power points. Until there was some particular number of vehicles, the building supply would be fine. I routinely charge at 10A and it is ample (pardon the pun). Fast charging is not needed where one routinely parks.

    You plan to upgrade the system once you get to more EVs. Then the ordinary cheap power points are replaced with a set of networked 32A EVSE charging outlets. These can be controlled from a central device. That device might be set to allow a maximum supply to the complete set. If every car were plugged in and charging, each car might only be allowed 6A. As cars that did not drive very far cease charging or leave the building, the system allows the remaining cars to take 10A each. Some time later, more cars have finished charging and the few remaining are allowed 15A each without exceeding the total allow supply for charging. Eventually, there are few cars remaining and all are allowed to draw 32A.

    A further refinement of such systems is that the maximum supply to the set of charging outlets can be varied dynamically and automatically to reflect the difference between the maximum permitted building load and the non-charging load of the building. So, nearly all of the time, there will be lots of excess capacity that can be dedicated to charging. On the unusual occasions when the building has a high demand such as in the example, car charging can still proceed albeit more slowly and automatically shared among the vehicles requiring a change. As the evening wears on and the load from units is reduced as the evening peak passes, charging rates can ramp up and all cars will get a decent top up, even in the worst case scenarios.

    These really are set and forget systems. They are described in more detail and with diagrams in the WattBlock publications I mentioned.

    #52472
    Avatarpeter_mcc
    Flatchatter

    I think the concern should be how to manage the electrical demands in the future. It isn’t just a matter of the first “X” get to install it – you also need to consider what will happen on a really hot (or cold) day when everyone is running their air conditioners at full power. If you exceed the rating on the main switchboard the fuses/main circuit breaker to the street may blow, taking out power to the whole building.

    For my work building we have a 600A/phase feed from the substation. Most of the time (eg this week) we draw about 150A/phase during the day. But a few years ago after a string of really hot week days we hit 400A/phase. Still not enough to trip out the feed fuses. A few years before I arrived they managed to blow one phase fuse – it takes a while to get fixed because Ausgrid (the distributor) had to come.

    I have no idea how you deal with it though in a practical sense. Most buildings have no visibility on how much power they are using and so there is no real way to say “we’re close to the limit, don’t charge your car”. If they were restricted to charging overnight (10pm – 6am) that would probably help since most poeople would be in bed and the sun has gone down, reducing the heat load.

    #52396
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    …one block I know sent out a questionnaire asking owners …

    The WattBlock site has several publications on EV charging in strata. Their long report includes a template for such a questionnaire, decision flow charts, and example by-laws for different situations. https://www.wattblock.com/publications.html

    #52389
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    As we have discussed many times on this site, and I’m with Sir Humphrey on this, you really don’t need anything special beyond an electrical meter on common property supply, if that’s what you’re using, so the owners corp knows how much to charge you for “their” electricity. And, otherwise just a power point in your garage connected to your domestic supply.

    Most of us park our cars overnight where they could be charging on cheaper electricity.  The petrol pump has brainwashed us into thinking that the only way to refuel our vehicles is as and when we need to, rather than while we are asleep.

    The government is going to roll out charging stations all over rural areas for longer journeys where a top-up is required.

    A while ago one block I know sent out a questionnaire asking owners if they thought they might want to buy an electric vehicle in the next two, five or ten years.  The information such a survey might garner would be very valuable in terms of your future planning – certainly better than basing anything on hopes and fears.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by .
    #52347
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    Concerns about over-stressing the electricty supply at some future date are not a reason for refusing one vehicle today. They are a reason for doing what you set out to do – have a plan for the future.

    I would suggest that concern for exceeding the electricity supply for the building is not entirely unreasonable and care should be taken so that the first X% don’t take up the available capacity leaving the remaining 100-X% in difficulty. A common misconception among about-to-be EV owners is that they need more than an ordinary power point. Vendors of EVs often encourage charging installations of 32A or even suggest that 3-phase at 32A is needed. This is nonsense. I have been charging adequately on an ordinary 10A outlet for over a decade and it is sufficient. As car battery capacities get larger, the need for faster charging is lessened, not increased, because a half-full battery will still have more than enough range for local trips. Perhaps be a bit generous and allow a 15A outlet but I wouldn’t give more without being sure the building can handle the extra load of X units times 15A at peak time.

    This is being a bit cautious because people would hopefully respond to retail tariffs that encourage avoidance of the evening peak through time of use or peak demand tariffs. Not everybody will be charging at once but the Australian Standard have this assumption included unreasonably for peak demand calculations.

    My Hyundai Kona electric has over 400km of range so I routinely have it set to stop charging at 80% for better battery life and I only charge to 100% if planning a longer trip out of town the next day. I plug in every few days when it goes under 50% and rarely let it run low. An ordinary 10A power point adds almost 200km of range overnight. A 15A outlet, almost 300km. So, don’t let the early adopters gobble up the excessive capacity they might think they need.

    If it is practical, re distance to meters etc., it is preferable to have charging points wired back to the individual units’ meters. It saves the OC having to find an equitable way to meter and share a common property supply. Supply from the common property can be done in various different ways according to circumstances but best avoided if possible to go back to the existing individual unit meters.

    I could go on with plenty more detail but that is enough for now. Anyone wanting to talk through more detail is welcome to send a message via this site.

    #52343
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    Hi,

    I have been driving electric cars since 2009. I drafted the advice that the ACT branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association gave to our local ACT government on how we recommend that they implement their policy that all new strata developments must include electric vehicle charging. I also prepared the general meeting resolution on EV charging where I live in an older development.

    To save me writing out a long treatise on EV charging for various circumstances, could you please send me a personal message via this site and then we could arrange to discuss? There are a few ‘if this, then that’ decision points and a few key concepts and potential misconceptions to get straight.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by .
    #52344
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The managing agent has advised (quoted): There is no requirement. Who has told you that this is a requirement ? It’s not in the Strata Scheme’s Management ACT that the Owner’s Corporation must allow owners to install electric car chargers.

    What a pompous ass! You might want to point him to Section 110 of the Act which says this:

    110   Minor renovations by owners

    (1)  The owner of a lot in a strata scheme may carry out work for the purposes of minor renovations to common property in connection with the owner’s lot with the approval of the owners corporation given by resolution at a general meeting. A special resolution authorising the work is not required.

    (2)  The approval may be subject to reasonable conditions imposed by the owners corporation and cannot be unreasonably withheld by the owners corporation.

    (3)  Minor renovations include but are not limited to work for the purposes of the following— (d)  installing or replacing wiring or cabling or power or access points …

    You are absolutely right that the EV owners could take your scheme to NCAT and in today’s climate would probably win.  That additional expense leading to the same outcome would be the fault of your committee and your strata manager for failing to give the proposal proper consideration.

    Concerns about over-stressing the electricty supply at some future date are not a reason for refusing one vehicle today. They are a reason for doing what you set out to do – have a plan for the future.

    Reading the Act (which your strata manager clearly hasn’t done) suggests to me that you could give permission subject to agreement to the results of a future review if  other EV user demands ever pushed the power supply to its limits

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