Charging your EV vehicle in Port Moody? Expect a rollercoaster of price changes

It could cost you less, or maybe more, to charge your electric vehicle in Port Moody under a new proposed system that looks to scale rates to strike a balance between spurring more charging and increasing turnover.

Fees to use Port Moody’s eight city-owned electric vehicle charging stations could be going down. But they’ll get more expensive as they get more popular.

A report being presented to council on Tuesday recommends the city replace its current flat-rate fee structure with one that’s scaled according to the average amount each station is used.

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Laura Sampliner, Port Moody’s sustainability and energy coordinator, said lower fees encourage usage of the charging stations while higher fees reduce usage and increase turnover. 

She said varying the fee will achieve a balance.

Currently users of the city’s seven Level 2 charging stations pay $2 per hour for the first four hours, then $5/hr after that. It costs $16 an hour to plug into the fast charger at city hall. 

Under the proposed new system, the fee at most Level 2 stations in Port Moody would go down to $1 per hour for the first four hours if the station is used less than 40% of the time, If the average usage level is between 40 and 75%, the rate goes up to $2 per hour for the first four hours, and then $3 per hour if the average usage level is 75% or more. 

The rate at all Level 2 stations remains at $5 per hour after four hours.

According to the report, chargers at Old Orchard Hall and the single charger at city hall were in use less than 40% of the time, so their low-end thresholds would be set at 30%. As well, since the charger at Kyle Centre and a dual charger at city hall are slower because they share power when more than one vehicle is plugged in, their low-end rates will start at 50 cents an hour, escalating to $3 per hour for the first four hours.

For the fast charger, the rate begins at $12 per hour if its used an average of 40% or less, $14 per hour if the average usage is between 40 and 75% and then $16 per hour after that.

Sampliner said the thresholds could be adjusted in the future to optimize efficiency and they’ll be re-evaluated every year “to ensure they remain valid and consistent.”

In Vancouver, it costs $2 per hour to charge a vehicle at a Level 2 station, and $16 per hour at a fast charger. Users of a Level 2 station in Coquitlam pay $1 per hour for the first two hours, then $5 per hour after that.

Sampliner said the city’s electric vehicle charging stations have received about 2,000 unique visits since the first one was installed in late 2018. Use of the stations was free until a fee was introduced at the beginning of this year.

Since then, charging sessions at the city’s busiest station, at the rec centre, have declined by 42%, and by 69% for the station at Old Orchard Hall.

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