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In today’s electrifying age, EV (electric vehicle) charging stations have emerged as indispensable amenities for condominiums and Homeowners Associations (HOAs). EV charging for condo buildings is no longer just a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have. With electric transportation witnessing an unprecedented boom, it’s paramount for communities to offer easy and convenient charging solutions to residents. This article guides board members through a specialized EV charging solution tailored for condos and HOAs, accentuating its benefits and the prerequisites for successful installation and resident satisfaction.

EV Chargers for Condos and HOAs: What To Know Before You Start

When installing EV charging solutions in multi-unit residences, it’s not uncommon for the Condo Board or HOA to be intricately involved or take the lead in creating a solution to address these needs, necessitating a comprehensive policy. The installation process often pivots into a negotiation phase between the tenant and the HOA, during which expert advisors can provide insights into the practicality of the intended setup.

Predominant Concerns of Condos and HOAs about EV Charging:

  1. Direct Billing to Units: A prime concern is that the electrical consumption of the EV charger should be invoiced directly to the resident’s unit, bypassing the collective billing of the building/community.
  2. Shouldering Installation Costs: All costs associated with the installation should be the responsibility of the individual unit owner, ensuring the community remains financially unaffected.
  3. Equitable Future Provisions: There must be provisions to ensure equitable EV charger installations for all units in the foreseeable future. Additionally, condo boards and HOAs generally insist on the chosen service provider being state-certified, adequately insured (including workers’ compensation), and committed to delivering professional, fully-permitted installations.

What to Look for in EV Charging Solutions for Condos and HOAs

You may not find a perfect solution, but here are some goals to look for when consulting with EV charging station installers, especially when considering the cost to install EV chargers in condos. Direct-to-owner billing solutions do exist and can provide a few unique advantages as opposed to the HOA or Condominium administering its own EV Charging installation and billing program. Benefits of direct billing include:

  1. Absence of recurring management fees or elaborate payment structures.
  2. No hefty installation costs for shared infrastructural components.
  3. A user-friendly interface negating the need for intricate configurations.
  4. Unit owners are directly responsible for electricity and infrastructure costs for their stations.

With a surge in demand from condo buyers, this sort of approach takes some of the onus off the Board and its management and shifts the focus to those who need or want the service to be part of the path forward. One charging and energy management company that has solutions worth investigating is Wallbox. Check out their whitepaper on solutions for HOAs

Achieving Clarity in Electricity Billing

A pivotal aspect of EV charging is to ensure the electricity consumed is billed to the user, preventing any communal electricity overheads. Ideally, find a solution that adopts a straightforward method known as the “meter tap.” This recognized method connects directly to the unit’s main circuit at its meter, resulting in:

  1. Precise billing directly to the individual unit.
  2. Elimination of monthly fees or multifaceted payment plans.
  3. No reliance on specialized tracking equipment.

However, if this is not available, ensuring your building is equipped with appropriate software that can track usage is the next best solution. This will then allow your condo or HOA management company to handle bill backs for usage directly to the Unit. Note that depending on how you approach the charge back process you may or may not need to comply with the Texas Public Utility Commission’s submeter or utility charge-back compliance procedure. The general rule on this is that if you are billing for the usage of a utility which is provided by a master meter (e.g. one that belongs to the HOA) and whose usage is measured through a submeter (e.g. a unit meter) then you should register with the PUC. Check to see if your chosen method requires you to register by reviewing the PUC Submeter Guidelines.

Cost-Effective Condo EV Charging Installation

By harnessing the “meter tap” methodology, each installation remains exclusive to its respective unit, ensuring no financial encumbrances on the Condo Board or HOA. This means the Association does not need to install additional circuits to increase its capacity supply into the building which can save between $10,000 and $25,000 in up front installation costs alone. This procedure also offers economies of scale for labor when commissioning additional units, and streamlines permit-related expenses.

Ensuring Equitable Charger Distribution

For larger communities that may contemplate EV charger installations across all parking spaces, it’s essential to realize that this may not be feasible without significant service upgrades. A more pragmatic strategy is to install a select number of chargers within the confines of the building’s existing electrical capacity. Modern chargers, capable of communicating via WIFI, can judiciously regulate charging based on real-time demand, ensuring judicious power consumption.

Steps for Seamless Installation

Considering an EV charging solution for your community? Before you contact an installer, come up with a list of desired objectives and ensure you gather:

  1. Any pre-existing Condo or HOA guidelines.
  2. Pertinent details like images of your meter, panel, parking space, garage, and electrical room to the chosen installation firm.
  3. A layout of the garage area including electrical infrastructure.

The wrap-up on EV Charging for Condo Buildings and HOAs

The future is electric, and as EVs entrench themselves in our daily lives, the clamor for accessible charging stations in condos and HOAs will only grow louder. Condo EV charging is here to stay. Opting for a well-rounded, transparent, and efficient EV charging solution can herald a seamless transition for communities, steering them confidently into an electrified future. RISE Association Management is your partner in this future. Learn more about our services here and contact us at 713-936-9200 or [email protected] to discuss your needs.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado has nearly 20 years in association management, including risk, insurance, and financial management. Delgado has a BBA from The University of the Incarnate Word and an MBA from The University of Texas San Antonio. He was named one of Houston Business Journals' Most Admired CEOs in 2022 as well as is a Houston Business Journal 40 under 40 Honoree.