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Working with HOA for EV-Charging; California law

RDavis9

New Member
May 5, 2019
3
3
Portland, Oregon
I've been reading through this thread wondering if anyone knows about the DCC-9 solution. I had a condo when I got my Model 3 and bought a DCC-9 to run off of my 100 amp panel. It's a great solution for condo because all of the additional power requirements still come off of an owner's meter. The device handles load sharing. I ended up moving to a building with a large garage that has 4 parking slots for EVs so I just pay a low monthly fee for charging now. When I bought mine the DCC-9 was about $1,000. I still have my brand new, never installed unit that I would sell to a fellow Tesla owner for $500. If interested just contact me.
 
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LawyerBoy

Member
Nov 15, 2019
19
5
Berkeley, CA
Hi Teslarati!

I've resumed comms with my HOA about installing new power to my garage for a dedicated charger since traditional methods just won't work right now. I'm willing to pay for this, but I'm hoping this doesn't turn in to some protracted battle. I dislike that the fate of my charger solution rests in the hands of someone who may hate EVs. Such is the downside of HOAs.

Here's the existing law as I understand it, and my query relates to any new 2020 laws which work in my favor to give me more freedom or leeway to pursue charging options in a townhome controlled by an HOA.

Davis-Stirling Act:

"Starting January 1, 2012, any restriction which prohibits or restricts the installation or use of an electric vehicle ("EV") charging station in a common interest development is void and unenforceable. (Civ. Code §4745(a).)"

--

In January 2019, we got this;

SB 1016 – Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Effective January 1, 2019


Amends Civil Code Section 4745 and adds to Section 4745.1.

The new law sets for that: (1) a requesting homeowner must agree to pay, and pay for, all costs associated with the installation of an electric vehicle (“EV”) charging station (“EVCS”) located in common area or exclusive use common area; (2) owners of charging stations are required to maintain a liability coverage policy, and provide the association with a corresponding certificate of insurance within fourteen (14) days of approval and annually thereafter; (3) prevailing homeowner plaintiffs are entitled to the recovery of their attorney’s fees in EVCS- related actions; and (4) any pre-existing governing document or transfer instrument that restricts the installation or use of an EVCS or an EV-dedicated Time of Usage (TOU) meter, is void and unenforceable. An association may still enact reasonable restrictions on EVCS and TOU meters; however, California intends to remove all obstacles possible to allow their installation.

For reference: an EV-dedicated TOU meter is defined as an “electric meter supplied and installed by an electric utility, that is separate from, and in addition to, any other electric meter and is devoted exclusively to the charging of electric vehicles, and that tracks the time of use (TOU) when charging occurs. An EV-dedicated TOU meter includes any wiring or conduit necessary to connect the electric meter to an electric vehicle charging station, as defined in Section 4745, regardless of whether it is supplied or installed by an electric utility.” See Cal. Civ Code Section 4745.1(d).
--

Anything new for 2020 from you more legally-savvy EV owners out there? Has anyone else had to deal with an HOA to get proper charging options installed in California or any U.S. State? How did it go?

Thanks!

Thanks for the information. Since the law allows for attorney fees, this would be easy to enforce. Any young trial lawyer would love to help you out on a contingency.
 

Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,039
1,235
Wildomar, CA
Sounds like you're doing a great job all around. I certainly know the struggles. I was the first person with an EV in our Association (the Volt) back in 2014 and it was quite the journey with the Board at the time (I was not on the Board then). We reached an agreement to track the electricity used on a 110V outlet at my garage spot. We then established a committee to develop a comprehensive charging plan for the two different types of parking at our facility, which we completed in 2015 and put forward to the Board. I thought we had the politics in place but then one of them changed their mind and we couldn't get approval to proceed. I then ran for the Board (again) and became the President. One of my planks for running again was EVs. We're still not where I'd like to be but we are up to four plugins on the facility: two PHEVs and two Teslas. Everyone is charging off 11o outlets right now except the Model 3 owner I spoke about in the first post, who we just got the L2 in January. While I'd prefer, and am continuing to work toward, a comprehensive plan, we are doing whatever we can to accommodate anyone interested in buying a PHEV or BEV.

The just-installed L2 is a pilot to see if we can use Juiceboxes instead of the costly ChargePoint, Blink, or EVgo solutions that charge $20+ per month for the connectivity. Juiceboxes can be paired to share power and they have a dashboard that tracks usage, which we'll use to charge for the electricity. Unfortunately, our network design is causing us some headaches but I think we'll get something worked out. My personal objective is to find solutions that keep any monthly fees to a minimum. Obviously, we also have to manage limited power and comply with the various governing documents and laws. The rest of my Board is quite supportive with the big caveat that those who desire to have charging need to cover the costs.

Personally, I've stuck to using the 15A/110V outlet for both our Volt and the Model S to avoid the perception of favoritism since I'm the Board president. Its usually enough but when I have to do lots of driving, I need to use one of the local superchargers, which is thankfully much easier than 2016 when the nearest one was almost 25 miles away. We typically charge the Volt twice a week and I try to plug-in the rest of the nights.

Wow, what a story! What I gather from this is that when you're running against opposition (the very kind I feared), you can run as a board member (perhaps becoming President) to set things right! I know if I had issues with EV charging solutions I'd be more inclined to 'get involved'. :D Thanks for the great post. Good job making things better for everyone where you live!
 

IchDochNicht

Member
Sep 4, 2016
305
214
Bay Area, CA
One thing that made my install more expensive than it would usually be was the lack of wall space in the electrical room of the building. We had to mount the DCC-9 in a different room across a hallway, which added a lot of wiring and conduit.

The closer to the meter/main panel you can install, the more affordable it will be.
 

Bill25cycle

Member
Mar 31, 2011
103
69
Hi!

Unfortunately, no electrician offered any solution like this. If they had I'd have jumped at the chance. Heck I would hire you if you were out here to take a look.

A/C load is minimal. We barely use A/C and the HVAC combo unit is brand new (efficient). We have a gas range and gas dryer, so it's not like I can convert electric to gas to free up amperes there. I can't easily run cord from dryer because it's upstairs, and our connection to the garage goes through a small patio with locking door. It would be a somewhat ugly solution even if the dryer were electric and had a nice spot to plug in. I work at home so trickle-charging would be better than that. But, I still want to pursue this new line install to see if I can get it done for a reasonable price.

Very good Spacep0d.... Ok Deal!! I'll work for no-charge.... Just tell me everything you can about your current situation. Just to confirm: I assume the reason you are calling it '60 amps' is that is what the doubly-wide circuit breaker handle says on it by the revenue meter for your unit in the common meter closet.

You may say, "Well I'm not an electrician", but I'm sure you can tell me things such as:

1). Do you have a 'Tombstone' - shaped outlet or else a very large outlet unused next to your gas dryer?

2). Does the '60 amp' loadcenter in your Condo have a handle tie on more than one set of breakers and/or a doubly-wide breaker
(indicating a 208-240 volt load). I know you have at least one since I'm assuming the HVAC condenser unit is large enough to need more than 120 volts.

3). Please tell me everything you can about your 60 amp loadcenter (Panelboard) in your unit... Brand, number of single width, and number of double width breakers (count a handle-tied breaker as a 'double width' breaker)., as well as if there appears to be any unused spaces. If you are just slightly mechanically inclined, you can remove 4 cover screws and gently remove the cover to expose the bus stabs. The reason for this check is sometimes the panel has more 'spare slots on the cover' than actually exist on the guts below. Removing the cover will let you see what is going on. Now some people are absolutely fearful of trying even this.... The only time I'd be concerned would be if a klutz 'helped' you and dropped the corner of the metal cover onto the interior bus stabs, making a big bang and the lights go out. Whenever I remove a cover of a loadcenter, I carefully tighten the main lug screws (the 2 big wires near the top or bottom of the panel, since if you are adding to its load with a car charger you don't want any bad (heating) connections. This doesn't tighten the connections at the meter closet (in the unlikely event of the 60 ampere breaker tripping in the breaker closet perhaps a friendly maintenance man could tighten the same connection at the meter closet on this 60 amp breaker, which won't have a utility seal on it since it is beyond the unmetered wiring. WARNING: The screwdriver shaft will be LIVE and fused at the breaker size for your unit in the meter closet, so be sure you are touching the insulated handle ONLY , and don't let the shaft get near anything other than the lug screw you are tightening.

3B). Square footage of the condo, also, please look for the MCA on the air conditioning condenser (Minimum Circuit Ampacity)

4). From what you have stated so far, it looks like you can put in a 16 or 24 ampere, 208-240 volt charging cord or wallbox at an absolute minimum, and there is no need for the panelboard to be relocated since you will just be adding a single double wide breaker to either 2 existing spaces, or 2 freed up spaces by taking 4 single breakers and replacing them with 2 double (halfwidth) breakers.

5). If you are charging a TESLA, then you can precisely control the charging rate from the dashboard, should you decide to install a 32 ampere wallbox or receptacle. If you are charging a non-Tesla and using a wallbox, or evse-cord, get one where you can adjust the current from the wallbox or a smart-phone ap controlling the wallbox. As an example of that, my current Bolt EV has no mechanism in and of itself to limit its current to anything other than what the wallbox tells it. But this is only an issue with non-Teslas.

Hope this helps.

P.S. As far as the HOA concerns, they just want to make sure you don't overload the entire joint.... So to that end, If you could tell me the size of the main service equipment, whether single or 3 phase, (If you can identify, and look at your Revenue Meter (or if a bunch of them are exactly alike and you can't identify which one is precisely yours, just look at ANY of them and see if the FORM on it is either 2S (240) or 12S (208), how many meters are in the meter closet, etc - any information to that end... It doesn't affect anything you are going to do here, and from what I can see, am I correct in assuming you do *NOT* need to notify the HOA if you are doing things just totally within your unit, which would be true if you are not even changing out your unit's loadcenter/panelboard (the reason for the dual terminology is that a loadcenter *IS* a cheap panelboard). The only reason for the single or 3 phase 'check' is to determine the charging voltage for your home, which you can also determine by using a voltmeter once the cover is off your loadcenter in your own unit.

But all of the above is just to reassure the HOA that you will be adding a trivial load when compared to the total load of the entire complex.

Bill
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,039
1,235
Wildomar, CA
Very good Spacep0d.... Ok Deal!! I'll work for no-charge.... Just tell me everything you can about your current situation. Just to confirm: I assume the reason you are calling it '60 amps' is that is what the doubly-wide circuit breaker handle says on it by the revenue meter for your unit in the common meter closet.

You may say, "Well I'm not an electrician", but I'm sure you can tell me things such as:

1). Do you have a 'Tombstone' - shaped outlet or else a very large outlet unused next to your gas dryer?

2). Does the '60 amp' loadcenter in your Condo have a handle tie on more than one set of breakers and/or a doubly-wide breaker
(indicating a 208-240 volt load). I know you have at least one since I'm assuming the HVAC condenser unit is large enough to need more than 120 volts.

3). Please tell me everything you can about your 60 amp loadcenter (Panelboard) in your unit... Brand, number of single width, and number of double width breakers (count a handle-tied breaker as a 'double width' breaker)., as well as if there appears to be any unused spaces. If you are just slightly mechanically inclined, you can remove 4 cover screws and gently remove the cover to expose the bus stabs. The reason for this check is sometimes the panel has more 'spare slots on the cover' than actually exist on the guts below. Removing the cover will let you see what is going on. Now some people are absolutely fearful of trying even this.... The only time I'd be concerned would be if a klutz 'helped' you and dropped the corner of the metal cover onto the interior bus stabs, making a big bang and the lights go out. Whenever I remove a cover of a loadcenter, I carefully tighten the main lug screws (the 2 big wires near the top or bottom of the panel, since if you are adding to its load with a car charger you don't want any bad (heating) connections. This doesn't tighten the connections at the meter closet (in the unlikely event of the 60 ampere breaker tripping in the breaker closet perhaps a friendly maintenance man could tighten the same connection at the meter closet on this 60 amp breaker, which won't have a utility seal on it since it is beyond the unmetered wiring. WARNING: The screwdriver shaft will be LIVE and fused at the breaker size for your unit in the meter closet, so be sure you are touching the insulated handle ONLY , and don't let the shaft get near anything other than the lug screw you are tightening.

3B). Square footage of the condo, also, please look for the MCA on the air conditioning condenser (Minimum Circuit Ampacity)

4). From what you have stated so far, it looks like you can put in a 16 or 24 ampere, 208-240 volt charging cord or wallbox at an absolute minimum, and there is no need for the panelboard to be relocated since you will just be adding a single double wide breaker to either 2 existing spaces, or 2 freed up spaces by taking 4 single breakers and replacing them with 2 double (halfwidth) breakers.

5). If you are charging a TESLA, then you can precisely control the charging rate from the dashboard, should you decide to install a 32 ampere wallbox or receptacle. If you are charging a non-Tesla and using a wallbox, or evse-cord, get one where you can adjust the current from the wallbox or a smart-phone ap controlling the wallbox. As an example of that, my current Bolt EV has no mechanism in and of itself to limit its current to anything other than what the wallbox tells it. But this is only an issue with non-Teslas.

Hope this helps.

P.S. As far as the HOA concerns, they just want to make sure you don't overload the entire joint.... So to that end, If you could tell me the size of the main service equipment, whether single or 3 phase, (If you can identify, and look at your Revenue Meter (or if a bunch of them are exactly alike and you can't identify which one is precisely yours, just look at ANY of them and see if the FORM on it is either 2S (240) or 12S (208), how many meters are in the meter closet, etc - any information to that end... It doesn't affect anything you are going to do here, and from what I can see, am I correct in assuming you do *NOT* need to notify the HOA if you are doing things just totally within your unit, which would be true if you are not even changing out your unit's loadcenter/panelboard (the reason for the dual terminology is that a loadcenter *IS* a cheap panelboard). The only reason for the single or 3 phase 'check' is to determine the charging voltage for your home, which you can also determine by using a voltmeter once the cover is off your loadcenter in your own unit.

But all of the above is just to reassure the HOA that you will be adding a trivial load when compared to the total load of the entire complex.

Bill

Thank you Bill for your help with this! It's a bit late for me to go through it now but I very much appreciate your effort. I have an electrician coming out to check for feasibility and logistics of adding a new line to my private garage, and I'll update after he leaves with more insights, hopefully. Barring that, I'll check back with panel options. Just running line from the panel to the garage is already going to be expensive, so I'm thinking if I can get new power from the main closet feeding the building then this might be the way to go! Thanks again. :D
 

Bill25cycle

Member
Mar 31, 2011
103
69
Sounds like you're doing a great job all around. I certainly know the struggles. I was the first person with an EV in our Association (the Volt) back in 2014 and it was quite the journey with the Board at the time (I was not on the Board then). We reached an agreement to track the electricity used on a 110V outlet at my garage spot. We then established a committee to develop a comprehensive charging plan for the two different types of parking at our facility, which we completed in 2015 and put forward to the Board. I thought we had the politics in place but then one of them changed their mind and we couldn't get approval to proceed. I then ran for the Board (again) and became the President. One of my planks for running again was EVs. We're still not where I'd like to be but we are up to four plugins on the facility: two PHEVs and two Teslas. Everyone is charging off 11o outlets right now except the Model 3 owner I spoke about in the first post, who we just got the L2 in January. While I'd prefer, and am continuing to work toward, a comprehensive plan, we are doing whatever we can to accommodate anyone interested in buying a PHEV or BEV.

The just-installed L2 is a pilot to see if we can use Juiceboxes instead of the costly ChargePoint, Blink, or EVgo solutions that charge $20+ per month for the connectivity. Juiceboxes can be paired to share power and they have a dashboard that tracks usage, which we'll use to charge for the electricity. Unfortunately, our network design is causing us some headaches but I think we'll get something worked out. My personal objective is to find solutions that keep any monthly fees to a minimum. Obviously, we also have to manage limited power and comply with the various governing documents and laws. The rest of my Board is quite supportive with the big caveat that those who desire to have charging need to cover the costs.

Personally, I've stuck to using the 15A/110V outlet for both our Volt and the Model S to avoid the perception of favoritism since I'm the Board president. Its usually enough but when I have to do lots of driving, I need to use one of the local superchargers, which is thankfully much easier than 2016 when the nearest one was almost 25 miles away. We typically charge the Volt twice a week and I try to plug-in the rest of the nights.


HI, - I'd be willing to help out here, if I could offer some suggestions as to what your building complex has, and, what you want to do. Usually, as I explained to SpaceP0d, there is much an individual condo unit owner can usually do that does not impact negatively the existing capacity of the entire building's main service equipment / metering facilities. Even a tiny 60 ampere (12,000 to 14400 watts depending on whether the incoming electrics are 3 or 1-phase, respectively) can usually do SOMETHING - even in extreme cases the only thing that would be allowed would be a 12 ampere, 208-240 volt wallbox - which in even that somewhat depressing case will double the number of miles a person can drive (or bank for future use) per day.

I would need the following information:

1). What are the existing loads in each of the units, i.e. are there substantially gas dryers or electric? Are there electric ranges substantially or are they all gas; or a combination such as a gas cooktop and an electric wall oven?

2). What is the size of the feed going to an individual unit??? (usually 60 or 100 amps). You can tell this by the number on the doubly-wide circuit breaker in the meter closet or outside meter center, (usually used if there are no more than 6 units between firewalls). Any information as to the main supply would be handy such as a nameplate, or a picture of any wiring going to the common main service facilities.

Hope this helps..

Bill
 
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jwilson7-sf

New Member
Oct 8, 2019
2
0
SF
We are in a 300 unit low rise (8 floors) in San Francisco. Electrician was able to run a 50A line from our meter located in one of several wiring closets in the building to our deeded parking place. Wasn't cheap, $4000 but we can now charge our M3 and MX and I figure we will get a premium when we go to sell.
 

IchDochNicht

Member
Sep 4, 2016
305
214
Bay Area, CA
So sorry I haven't updated. The electrician never made it over here for various reasons. I'll get a different electrician over and update when I can. Thanks!
Too bad you are so far from San Diego, or I would have referred you to my electrician (Peter Steglitz, Steglitz Power in San Diego).

Another thing I just learned is that we could have mounted the DCC-9 on the ceiling. I don't think that was in the instructions, so we never considered it. But there was a post this week that showed an example and it worked. That may be helpful to know for anyone else interested in this unit.
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,039
1,235
Wildomar, CA
Too bad you are so far from San Diego, or I would have referred you to my electrician (Peter Steglitz, Steglitz Power in San Diego).

Another thing I just learned is that we could have mounted the DCC-9 on the ceiling. I don't think that was in the instructions, so we never considered it. But there was a post this week that showed an example and it worked. That may be helpful to know for anyone else interested in this unit.

--UPDATE--

I have permission from the HOA to install a new line for dedicated charging. I just need an electrician to draw up architectural plans which I would then submit to the HOA for approval. After that, we pull permits and get to work. I was considering moving but since I'm staying I want to make this place EV-charging ready. ETA to Tesla, less than a month. :)
 

IchDochNicht

Member
Sep 4, 2016
305
214
Bay Area, CA
--UPDATE--

I have permission from the HOA to install a new line for dedicated charging. I just need an electrician to draw up architectural plans which I would then submit to the HOA for approval. After that, we pull permits and get to work. I was considering moving but since I'm staying I want to make this place EV-charging ready. ETA to Tesla, less than a month. :)
Awesome news! Congratulations!
 
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Spacep0d

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
1,039
1,235
Wildomar, CA
Hi All,

First, thanks to everyone who has been so helpful in this thread with all of my EV upgrade concerns.

Big news, I'm ordering my new Tesla Model 3 Long Range next week, white with black interior, and plan to Boost it as well.

Also will be getting the electrician to come out early next week to start work on the upgrade, with architectural plans and all of that. Had to wait for some things which were tying up my liquid capital first, but we're all clear now.

Big things are happening! :D
 
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