Man fined $80 for plugging electric vehicle into wall socket at Surrey car park

Thirteen cents for electricity turned into a big headache and an even bigger bill for a Surrey man who was slapped with an $80 fine for charging his electric vehicle at a wall socket in the center car park Central City shopping.

Brett Favaro was hoping to add a few miles of range to his Chevy Volt when he and his daughter went shopping on Wednesday.

After finding all the charging stations occupied or out of service, he saw an open wall socket. So he parked, plugged in, and went to the mall.

When he returned an hour later, the $80 bill on his windshield described the infraction as “use of an outlet to charge the vehicle is not permitted.”

“There was no signage anywhere saying you couldn’t do that, so I was really surprised because it doesn’t seem like a big stretch to plug your car into a wall outlet,” Favaro said. “It’s a parking lot. It’s an outlet facing the parking lot. I had no reason to believe it wouldn’t be allowed, especially since it’s allowed in so many other places.”

After posting the ticket on social media, the company that manages the land on behalf of the mall, Concord Parking, waived the fine as a “single courtesy” and reduced the ticket to a “warning”.

The Central City general manager said the mall is very supportive of electric vehicles and plans to improve signage in the area.

“We have 40 electric vehicle charging stations on our site designed to properly charge electric vehicles,” said Daniella Leck. “The wall outlets are intended for use by our maintenance team for things like pressure washers to keep our parking lot clean. They are not intended or designed for electric vehicle charging.”

Most EVs can “drain” or slow down charging on a standard three-prong plug, gaining around 15 miles of battery range every hour.

Favaro, who is a conservation scientist and dean of the faculty of science and horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, argues that the provision of regular outlets for recharging – such as those provided for plug-in block heaters in the coldest parts of Canada – makes sense for businesses, customers and the environment.

“It’s not uncommon to shop for an hour or two,” he said. “That could be enough energy to get you home without having to use fossil fuels.”

The president of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association said the case highlights the fact that the supply of electric vehicle charging is not meeting growing demand.

An electric vehicle charging panel in Squamish, British Columbia More than 10% of new light-duty vehicles purchased in British Columbia in 2021 were zero-emissions, the highest rate in North America. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

“I see it’s a point of tension,” said Harry Constantine. “I always [ask] why bother installing a power outlet if you don’t want people to use it? I think the best way is for people to come out ahead of it and install more recharge.”

Constantine said starting January 2022, businesses and multi-unit residences with five or more units can take advantage of BC’s low-carbon fuel standard by installing chargers and earning credits. of carbon.

“If you monitor your energy use, you can report it to the government and sell those carbon credits. And those carbon credits are then bought by oil and gas companies to offset their carbon footprint,” he said.

British Columbia’s recent history of disastrous wildfires, flooding and extreme heat has brought climate change to the forefront and has become a factor in the rapid rate of adoption of electric vehicles by British Columbia drivers.

Depending on the province, zero-emission vehicles represented more than 10% of all new light vehicle sales in 2021, the highest rate in North America.

And with the trend only accelerating, it follows that an increasing number of EV drivers will be in the market for charging options.

“I think a lot of owners maybe just don’t understand the opportunity,” Favaro said. if you have a wall outlet in your parking lot, you have EV infrastructure, and that’s actually a positive.”