Council for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s will impose new fees for use of the two electric vehicle chargers it recently installed in Sherbrooke and Port Bickerton. 

 Council approved a $2 per hour charge following a report from Chief Administrative Officer Marissa Jordan at the December 7 committee of the whole. 

“The chargers are not operable until we have a service agreement in place where the person that is charging can be charged for the usage,” she said, referring to Switch, the software company that will provide the billing platform.

“Staff are recommending to set the fee at $2 an hour [per customer] for the chargers at both locations. That would cover the cost of electricity used and also the annual [cost] to have a service contract in place through Switch … Staff will continually monitor any changes in the power [usage] and bring back … [recommendations].”

In January 2022, the provincial government invested $500,000 to help install more electric vehicle charging stations in Nova Scotia. At the time, Natural Resources and Renewables Minister Tory Rushton stated in a news release, “Electric vehicles can play a big role in reducing emissions and helping us achieve our goals of having a cleaner economy that creates jobs, supports a healthy environment, and benefits all Nova Scotians.”

The provincial investment topped up the previously announced $1.2-million federal Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program to install up to 250 Level 2 electric vehicle chargers in public areas across the province.

At the COTW meeting, Councilor Courtney Mailman (district #1) wondered what liability the municipality can expect should something go wrong with one of its vehicle chargers. “I recently read an article [that described] how a charger destroyed the electronics in a car, and I was wondering who would pay for that,” she said.

Jordan said she would check the municipality’s insurance policy, adding: “We have a little bit of time, as we would not be going live with this until the contract is set and [the] Streetscapes [project] is done.”

By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 02, 2023