E.L. from Middlesex County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Do you have any wording for our rules to prohibit an owner from using the common electrical outlet in garage (110 volt) to charge their electric car?
Mister Condo replies:
E.L., electric-powered cars have been a hot topic at HOAs all across the country. Some states, like Hawaii and California, have mandated that community associations allow electric charging station be installed at condominium provided the unit owner installing the station takes responsibility for the station’s installation, maintenance, and cost of electricity sent to the station. This is done through submetering, a separate meter that keep track of the specific electricity that flows to the charging station. Connecticut has no such law and the association is already providing power to the garage where the unit owner is charging the electric vehicle so your situation is different.
The conventional wisdom would be to install a submeter, at the unit owner’s expense, to keep track of the electricity being used by the unit owner for vehicle charging purposes. The association would continue to provide the electricity but this unit owner would receive a separate utility bill for the electricity consumed. In the interest of fairness, all units could have submeters installed and all unit owners could pay for their own electricity but that solution may not be practical and may require a modification of your Declaration.
However you decide to handle it, I suggest that the Board take a look and discuss the following items:
- If the association provides electricity for all of the unit owners as part of the common fees, maybe it is time to look at submetering for all units. In every community, there are folks that use a lot and folks that hardly use any. Is it fair that everyone pay the same? Submetering could resolve that problem.
- Electric cars are likely to be more common. Would it make sense for the association to install a charging station? Can the association come up with a way to provide the charging station and satisfy the needs of unit owners?
- Will these changes require an amendment to the Declaration? If so, it’s likely time to consult with the community association’s attorney to discuss proper procedure for doing so. Let’s face it; electric cars weren’t really under consideration when most condos were built in our state. Maybe it’s time to look to the future and plan accordingly.
All the best!