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EVSE Regulations in Canada

Discussion in 'Canada' started by llavalle, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. llavalle

    llavalle Member

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    Since I could not find anything specific to the regulations in Canada for EVSE equipment installation, I thought I should post this here.

    Two articles of the CEC (Canadian Electric code) might be of interest for Canadian residents.

    HPWC Installation :
    Article 86.304 Disconnecting means
    (1) A separate disconnecting means shall be provided for each installation of electric vehicle charging equipment rated at 60A or more, or more than 150 volts-to-ground.
    (2) The disconnecting means required in Subrule(1) shall be :
    (a) on the supply side of the point of connection of the electric vehicle charging equipment;
    (b) located within sight of and accesible to the electric vehicle charging equipment; ans
    (c) capable of being locked in the open position


    14-50 Receptacle Installation :
    Article 86.306 Receptacles for electric vehicle charging equipment
    (1) Each receptacle for the purpose of electric vehicle charging shall be labelled in a conspicous, legible and permanent manner identifying it as an electric vehicule charging receptable ans shall be :
    (a) a single receptacle of CSA configuration 5-20R supplied from a 125V branch circuit rated not less than 20A; or
    (b) of the appropriate CSA configuration in accordance with Diagram 1 or 2 when supplied from a branch circuit rated more than 125V or more than 20A
    (2) The receptacle in Subrule(1)(a) shall be protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter of the Class A type, when the receptacle is installed outdoors and within 2.5m of finished grade.


    I'm no electrician but from what I can understand :

    HPWC :
    -The HPWC uses 240V from a split phase installation in Canada. Which means that it does not uses more than 150 volts to ground. This in turns, probably means (anyone can confirm.. "rated at 60A" can be interpreted differently because of the dip-switches) than id you use it at less than 60A, you don't need a disconnect. 60Amps or more and you need a disconnect.
    -A breaker in a panel in your garage is not ok for disconnecting means because it cannot be locked in the open position.

    14-50 :
    -It needs to be labeled
    -It needs a dedicated circuit
    -If outside, you basically need a GFI circuit (unless you don't mind having the receptacle at over 2.5M from the ground!)

    Ho yeah, forgot : in Canada you need a licensed electrician to do all work - you cannot do it yourself
     
  2. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    That is how I read the standard; however, the local authority (Hydro Ottawa) doesn't see it that way. They say the standard never uses voltage to ground. Never mind that's exactly how the paragraph is written.

    They actually insisted on a cutout switch for my NEMA 14-50. It's ludicrous - the NEMA 14-50 is a disconnecting means.

    When I pointed this out he said, "Well someone could forget to unplug the car end, and pull it when the car is charging. It would pull a pretty big arc."

    I looked at him incredulously, and said, "I can guarantee you, if someone is going to forget to unplug the car first, they're sure as hell not going to pull that switch!"

    He didn't have an answer for that, but he didn't change his mind either. He just said, "That's what the code requires."

    Tried hard not to roll my eyes, but I think I failed.
     
  3. llavalle

    llavalle Member

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    I'm not familiar with the laws in Ontario but here in Quebec, you are only required to get the work done by a "Maître Électricien". Basically a licensed electrician. In my case, the guy installed a couple of 14-50 but it was his first HWPC. He pulled out his regulation book and we looked at it together...
     
  4. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    In Quebec that is true. In the rest of Canada the homeowner is also allowed to do the work themself with no electrician involved (you are not however allowed to have a friend do it etc)
     
  5. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    As I understand it, in Ontario every EVSE installation is currently being inspected.
     
  6. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    I didn't say homeowners could avoid inspection (legally) however, they are allowed to do the work without hiring an electrician. (my understanding is that Quebec doesn't allow this, however all other provinces do)

    Homeowners still need to pull a permit, but it's usually an easier process for them than for an electrician.
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    No, I'm saying that they are currently inspecting every installation regardless of whether it was done by a licensed electician or not.
     
  8. llavalle

    llavalle Member

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    Exactly. Here in Québec, you are required to hire a licensed electrician to do the work. However, you don't need a permit from Hydro-Quebec unless you have to alter / work on the wiring that's before your main breaker (like changing your panel or upgrading your service from 100Amp to 200 amps.)

    Most municipalities will require you to get a permit for any home improvement work but adding a power outlet or fixing wiring is usually not considered home improvement.

    That being said, simple electrical work is usually done by the home owner anyway (illegally) ans all hardware stores carry electrical components (wires, breakers, etc). But then you might run into issues with your insurance company of something were to happen.
     
  9. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    This is a requirement of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (based on the National code) and pertains to any electrical wiring, not just EVSE. Certain licensed electricians are "pre-authorised" by the Electrical Safety Authority and may not require an inspection (except for EVSE) but a homeowner doing his or her own wiring is required to take out a permit and have an inspection done.

    An entire section has been added to the Ontario Code (Section 86) dealing with EVSE including the requirement for a local disconnect switch.
     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Yes, I've read the section.

    What I'm saying is that my inspector told me that they are always inspecting every single EVSE installation, even if it's a "pre-authorized" licensed electrician. They're saying it's still a fairly uncommon installation and many electricians are unfamiliar with it, so they want to check every single installation.
     
  11. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Could it be argued that the HPWC contains an automatic local disconnect switch? (my understanding is that it does not allow power to flow without a negotiation with the car first)
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    The disconnecting means is there in case you need to work on the equipment. The idea is that you can open the switch and no one can close it again without you being aware of it.

    I've always found the concept a little bizarre. Why not just lock it out at the breaker panel? After all, the only work you'd do inside an EVSE is connecting/disconnecting it. Anything else means it has to go back to the factory.

    So if you have to work inside the cutout switch, should we have another cutout switch within sight? We should obviously have cutout switches every 10 feet all the way back to the panel.

    That's pretty much what we're doing here - cutout switch on a NEMA 14-50. Crazy stuff.

    IMG_2697.JPG
     
  13. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Well, my charger will be within sight of the garage sub panel, and the breaker within will be the only disconnect switch.
     
  14. llavalle

    llavalle Member

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    Can the breaker be locked in the "open" position? If that's not the case, well, you're not code-compliant.
     
  15. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    To be perfectly honest, I'm interested in being safety compliant, but I don't actually care at all if I'm code compliant. (I know, not always a popular opinion on here, there's also a very good chance that I won't pull an electrical permit, or get an inspection.)

    There is absolutely zero risk of someone turning on a breaker while I'm working on installing or removing a HPWC in my own house 5ft or less away from the panel.

    I'm a firm believer in safety, I'm not a believer in excess useless regulations. (and I do have enough knowledge to know the difference)
     
  16. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's what I meant. I was also just trying to make the point for the reader that a permit and inspection is always required for any kind of electrical work done by the homeowner.

    There is still a concern over the long duration continuous load that an EV draws. There is nothing quite like it. Heaters, ovens, dryers also draw heavy loads, but they are generally intermittent, cycling on and off over time. EVs come on full power for many hours. They want to ensure absolute compliance with component size, certification and installation including the proper torquing of the supply conductors. Overheating is the concern.

    I'm willing to give the ESA the benefit of the doubt here. Regulations and requirements could relax over time as these installations become more common and the body of experience mounts. Being in my business, it is almost unbelievable some of the things I've seen done by otherwise good intentioned folks who believe they are being safe, but just have no idea.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I installed 2-100 amp EVSE at my office and connected each to a Smart Meter mounted on the building wall. Even though I work for an electric utility, I had to have an ESA inspection for the work. The Smart Meters were in direct line of sight, but maybe 100' away. I proposed putting the disconnects there at the meter bases. The ESA said no, and I had to mount a 100 amp disconnect on the back of each pedestal. It was a "judgement call" by the inspector based on the rule. At first, I thought I was going to have to install a third pedestal for the switches and feed the EVSE from there, but was able to find something that mounted quite inobtrusively. (The Smart Meters weren't necessary, but I wanted them to track usage through our AMI network).
     
  17. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    so, where is the disconnect switch on the superchargers? somehow they get away without having one within reach of the pedestal.
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Interesting! These sites are connected more like a commercial electric service where the utility transformer connects to a cabinet with metering and a main disconnect switch, but it is located inside the fenced compound.

    I wonder if Level 3 (CHAdeMO, Combo Plug) are also set up without a local disconnect?

    The way the Ontario code reads, it looks like it pertains to Level 1 and Level 2 only.
     
  19. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Which just proves how stupid the rule is. If higher power doesn't require a disconnect, then there's no reason that lower power should.
     
  20. llavalle

    llavalle Member

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    I've only visited one Level3 charger (AZRA Network, ABB Terra-53 model charger) and there was big SquareD disconnect behind the cabinet. In fact, I was asked by the guy from AZRA to cycle it when I got there and it would not charge my car.
     

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