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Condo EV Charger install (sort of complicated)

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by DrManhattan, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. DrManhattan

    DrManhattan Member

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    #1 DrManhattan, Oct 23, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    I have a complicated situation I am trying to figure out a solution for. I will try to keep the details simple:

    My garage is currently already has 4 EV Chargers installed (1 guest spot), but none of them work because the credit card swiper is unable to get a signal, and nobody from the HOA can get it working (I've waited 10 months). The complicated part: The power in the garage is paid by the HOA, so I have to figure out a way to reimburse them for power used since I can't connect an LADWP meter.

    The HOA has basically given me the go-ahead to explore any opportunity I want to get power to my wall. The best options are:
    1) swap out one of the meters for an LADWP meter, and install as normal. This would be great, but I don't know if you can just swap out meters by different companies.

    2) run power to my wall, and install something that will read my power usage, and reimburse HOA for power used. This option seems nice and dandy, but there could be complications about when I am using power, and how much it costs.

    There are 6 empty meters that all read 0 that aren't being used. I believe these are empty and ready to use. It may be as easy as tapping into one of these, and just reading my meter every so often, and just paying the HOA based on whatever rate we agree on.

    photo of meter in question:
    657BDCAB-88E8-459D-8256-D809604F6161.JPG

    Thank you for the help in advance.
     
  2. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    There are rules associated with power company meters - each one is generally considered a new "service" and has an entire power bill attached to it. You could have the power company do that for you but you'd get a second power bill paid directly by you to LADWP under those circumstances. These are not something you "tap into" but rather are controlled by the power company for individual units - so you'd have to work with power company and HOA. You'd also have to install additional equipment, either a service panel or a sub-panel (depending upon the metering equipment they use).

    With HOA permission, you could probably have them run a common-area circuit to your wall, then have an electrician install a power company style kWh meter (they call them "revenue-grade meters") there, and simply reach an agreement on power costs flat rate, who will read it, etc.

    There are other companies out there that will manage this for the HOA as well, as a managed service.
     
  3. Barry

    Barry Member

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    Either put a submeter in the line and you can reimburse the HOA for actual costs, or just negotiate a monthly flat fee with them to add to your HOA dues as a separate line item.
     
  4. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    Have you looked into installing a microcell somewhere nearby so the existing chargers can get a signal? In case you're unaware of these things, a microcell is basically a unit that you plug into an internet connection, and it broadcasts a cellular signal to cover areas where there is no signal. For example, here's AT&T's offering:

    ATT MicroCell Wireless Network Extender

    Obviously this would require getting some sort of internet connectivity in that area, which may or may not be feasible for you.

    Otherwise, maybe you could install a J1772 EVSE with an integrated meter. It looks like they do exist, although I know very little about them.
     
  5. DrManhattan

    DrManhattan Member

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    It looks like I am stuck with the current metering. LADWP cannot install a meter there since the power source is not coming from LADWP. So I am basically stuck with working through the HOA power and figuring out billing/reimbursement. This may turn out to be a good option, it will just be a little more complicated since I have to find someone who is familiar with the building wiring who can answer my questions.

    I am familiar with microcells, but they are designed to only allow access to a phone number. Also, the credit card swipers apparently use a different type of 3G for their service. I know there are several companies who handle stuff like this (Chargepoint etc.) but these are going to be expensive options with 3rd party billing which will not be cheap for me. I want to avoid 3rd party billing if I can and just have my meter read straight up.
     
  6. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    I would ask the HOA to have an electrician install a submeter specifically for your receptacle, and then reach an agreement to pay them at a certain rate for kWh used. It's likely the easiest thing to do, and the meters aren't very expensive.
     
  7. bovine

    bovine Member

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    Can you get a better/longer antenna installed to allow it to get a 3G signal? Perhaps just a long wire running to the outside with an antenna on the end?
     
  8. DrManhattan

    DrManhattan Member

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    There is already a submeter there right? See the photo from my first post. I'm hoping this is what I end up doing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    From what I can tell, I don't think so. I would have to open up the EV charger to see how the Credit Card machine is interfaced, but I don't have keys or permission to do that. It's weird since the chargers belong to the homeowners. I don't own any of them though, but my neighbor (spot next to mine) has one, but obviously his doesn't work. There is also a guest charger I could use if I can ever get anyone to figure this out.
     
  9. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Could be - you referenced them as LADWP meters; and if so, those wouldn't be submeters, those would be "services" that serve separate electric bills for customers directly from LADWP. If so, they can't be touched/modified by HOA electricians without establishing a new, separate bill for you.

    If they are indeed sub-meters, then HOA electricians could use them for you. I won't be able to tell from the pic what arrangement they have, although they do look like they might be submeters since they come off some type of a panel. Only the management can tell you.
     
  10. drees

    drees Active Member

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    So what kind of charging stations are already installed? Seems like it would be easier and cheaper to get those working than to install all new stations.
     
  11. DrManhattan

    DrManhattan Member

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    These aren't LADWP meters, it's some other company that powers the HOA I guess. I'll have to research to find out exactly what they are for and if I can tap into one.
     
  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Depends on the company to which they belong. ;)

    Personally, I like the idea of using the sub-meters/other meters, because that'd be a path others could take and in the long term would provide flexibility and avoid middle-men. Home EVSE+wiring+meter shouldn't be something that needs a whole separate management company.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I wonder. Are there the same number of these meters as there are charging stations?
     
  13. DrManhattan

    DrManhattan Member

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    #13 DrManhattan, Oct 23, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    They are Eaton chargers that look like this:

    Eaton Charging Stations / Public - Metro Plugin, Atlanta GA Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installation Sales

    Only difference is ours have the credit card option, not that keypad as shown. I would agree with you about it being the easier option, but I've waited 10 months, and nothing has happened. I could look into having the charger swapped out, or some other interface besides the CC machines, but that also costs money to do. I'm not sure the HOA wants to spend money replacing something that is basically new. I am basically at the mercy of our management company who is horrible. I figure I'll get my own project going, if they can get those chargers to work before I start my project great. In the long term, It would be better if I had my own charger anyway.

    - - - Updated - - -

    You are right about avoiding the middle man. That is the big problem here. Luckily the HOA seems to want to accomodate me without too much hassle. It's up to me to find a cost effective solution though. There are 6 of those meters in my photo. 3 near each elevator. There are currently 4 EV Chargers installed, and 2 locations that are pre-wired next to 2 parking spots (lucky people). It's possible those 6 meters are already in use for those EV chargers. They all have a reading of 0, and I'm not an electrician so I can't tell if that's the way they are setup, but It's possible. There are other devices connected to the same panel that the EV chargers are installed to. Maybe they installed sub meters JUST for the EV chargers, I really don't know at this point, and that is something I need to find out.
     
  14. davewill

    davewill Member

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    Just have them put the submeter in and install it right next to your EVSE. It's not a big deal. You can get this meter: EZ Read FM2S 200A 240V 3W TR and the matching socket: MILBANK PART# U8435-XL-TG-HSP for well under $100. Then just log the big numbers each month and pay the HOA for what you use each month. Easy Peasy.

    ez-read-tamper-resistant-3.jpg
     
  15. DrManhattan

    DrManhattan Member

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    Alright, I'll consider something like that, thanks for the info.
     
  16. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Meters like that are used at RV Parks for weekly and monthly users all the time.

    Often, I get asked at an RV park how much electricity I will use to charge. My usual answer is about $1 to $1.50 per hour. A couple of RV parks had meters and charged me per kWh. I think one had a rate of $0.13/kWh and another had $0.15/kWh. Guess what, slightly under $1.30 and $1.50 per hour...they made a few cents per kWh and that was fine with me.
     

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