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question on charging rules in Massachusetts

David29

Active Member
Supporting Member
Aug 1, 2015
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DEDHAM, MA
I am putting together some information on EV charging for the board of the condo association where I live. I seem to recall reading that property owners in Massachusetts are not allowed to charge users for the costs of electricity for EV charging.
Can anyone verify that, or even provide a reference? And does anyone know if the rule applies to condos?

It seems reasonable to me that condo associations would expect unit owners (residents) to pay for electricity if they charge on a regular basis (assuming the charging point is not connected to the owner's meter), but they may or may not want or need to expect reimbursement from visitors. Be nice to know if there are any rules, though.

Thanks in advance for any info.
 

3mp_kwh

Active Member
Feb 13, 2013
1,137
326
Boston
I am putting together some information on EV charging for the board of the condo association where I live. I seem to recall reading that property owners in Massachusetts are not allowed to charge users for the costs of electricity for EV charging.
Can anyone verify that, or even provide a reference? And does anyone know if the rule applies to condos?

It seems reasonable to me that condo associations would expect unit owners (residents) to pay for electricity if they charge on a regular basis (assuming the charging point is not connected to the owner's meter), but they may or may not want or need to expect reimbursement from visitors. Be nice to know if there are any rules, though.

Thanks in advance for any info.

Multiple states have this rule. "Only utilities can sell power". It makes a mess of charging policy, and recovering electricity costs. Here, in MA, I don't think it is being prosecuted. The MIT chargers are by the kwh, for example, as are other Cambridge stations.
 
David 29, I believe you are correct, though there seem to be ways around the ruling that aren't being called into question.

Note this paragraph from the City of Cambridge:

"All city-owned charging stations cost $1.25 per hour for the use of the station. The hourly fee has been set to meet three goals: cover the cost of electricity, cover the administrative fees associated with offering EV charging station services, and keep the cost per mile for electricity lower than the cost per mile for gas. EVs will charge differently based on the car model, the size of the battery, and the level the battery contains when it begins to charge. At this point, Massachusetts state law does not allow for the re-sale of electricity, so the city cannot charge customers based on the kilowatt-hours used while charging at the station. The hourly rate is based on the average amount of electricity used by a range of EV models to charge in a one-hour period. The hourly fee is assessed regardless of whether your car is charging or not. To avoid the hourly fee once the car has finished charging, disconnect from the EV charging station and move the car to another parking space." [italics added for emphasis]

source: Electric Vehicles Are here! - CDD - City of Cambridge, Massachusetts


Our office park set up charging stations administered through Chargepoint so they'd have the option of charging in the future without having to manage it themselves. While they don't currently (pun intended) charge for charging, several other locations in Massachusetts do.


[Edited to put quote in larger font for better legibility]
 
Last edited:

David29

Active Member
Supporting Member
Aug 1, 2015
2,387
2,032
DEDHAM, MA
David 29, I believe you are correct, though there seem to be ways around the ruling that aren't being called into question.

Note this paragraph from the City of Cambridge:

"All city-owned charging stations cost $1.25 per hour for the use of the station. The hourly fee has been set to meet three goals: cover the cost of electricity, cover the administrative fees associated with offering EV charging station services, and keep the cost per mile for electricity lower than the cost per mile for gas. EVs will charge differently based on the car model, the size of the battery, and the level the battery contains when it begins to charge. At this point, Massachusetts state law does not allow for the re-sale of electricity, so the city cannot charge customers based on the kilowatt-hours used while charging at the station. The hourly rate is based on the average amount of electricity used by a range of EV models to charge in a one-hour period. The hourly fee is assessed regardless of whether your car is charging or not. To avoid the hourly fee once the car has finished charging, disconnect from the EV charging station and move the car to another parking space." [italics added for emphasis]

source: Electric Vehicles Are here! - CDD - City of Cambridge, Massachusetts


Our office park set up charging stations administered through Chargepoint so they'd have the option of charging in the future without having to manage it themselves. While they don't currently (pun intended) charge for charging, several other locations in Massachusetts do.


[Edited to put quote in larger font for better legibility]

Thanks, I appreciate the responses. Cambridge's approach is clever, I suppose -- it lets them provide the convenience but without taking a loss. No doubt this topic ("charging for charging" perhaps) will evolve as more public charging stations are installed and the cost question is addressed in various ways.
 

David29

Active Member
Supporting Member
Aug 1, 2015
2,387
2,032
DEDHAM, MA
Turns out, I had out-of-date information.

I had reached out to the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) last week on this question, but had not heard back. I had contacted DEP because that agency runs the program for workplace incentives for EV charging and has other realted information on their website.

Today I heard back from Ms. Sejal Shah at DEP, who told me that there indeed had been restrictions until last fall, but that the rules were changed and property owners are now allowed to charge for the electricity. She said the property owners can charge what they want, and are not restricted to the actual cost of the electricity.

So if I had been a bit more patient, I need not have asked here.

So, should I edit or delete my original post?
Thanks to those who replied in any case!
 

Robert.Boston

Model S VIN P01536
Moderator
No need to remove the thread; I certainly didn't know about the rule change, and now I do.

FWIW, I prefer a "per hour" approach, rather than "per kWh". The commodity electricity for a business is pretty cheap; what is scarce is time at the charger. Charging by the hour encourages people to move their cars once they're charged up, freeing the spot for another EV.
 

David29

Active Member
Supporting Member
Aug 1, 2015
2,387
2,032
DEDHAM, MA
And speaking of charging by the hour -- Here is an excerpt from an email I got just yesterday in which Bentley University announced their level 2 ChargePoint charger is in service (red text is theirs):
"Charging will cost drivers 15 cents per kWh (Bentley’s base electricity rate) for three hours of charging. According to ChargePoint, all types of electric vehicles can be fully charged within a three hour period.
Be careful – the price will automatically jump to $5 per hour after the three-hour charging period to incentivize drivers to move their cars and allow others to charge."

$5 per hour probably will be a good incentive to move your car , especially on a campus where parking is otherwise free. (We might disagree about the statement that any electric car can recharge in 3 hours, but that is a different topic!)
 

3mp_kwh

Active Member
Feb 13, 2013
1,137
326
Boston
$5 per hour probably will be a good incentive to move your car , especially on a campus where parking is otherwise free. (We might disagree about the statement that any electric car can recharge in 3 hours, but that is a different topic!)

It could also be an incentive to use gas, and worry about your parking only once per day. Bentley's lots fill up.
 
...According to ChargePoint, all types of electric vehicles can be fully charged within a three hour period.
Be careful – the price will automatically jump to $5 per hour after the three-hour charging period to incentivize drivers to move their cars and allow others to charge."

I was so busy laughing at the former sentence that I almost failed to get annoyed at the word "incentivize." But that does seem to be a wise way of handling it. I notice a lot of plug-in Priuses at the chargers at my work that seem to linger (the charger has a telltale blue light when not actively charging).
 

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