Luke Bowen, managing director of Sky Living Strata, which looks after the 15-storey, 120-unit Parkridge Apartments on Oxford Street, said he would not go into detail about the case.
“But we can’t allow one individual to use the power as the whole building would be paying for it,” said Mr Bowen. “And an owners’ corporation can’t invoice one individual to pay. He’s been told that a by-law would have to be drafted to allow access to common power and proposed at a general meeting.”
At a time when a huge number of apartment buildings around Australia are now having EV-charging systems installed in their premises, knowing that the ownership of EVs is taking off, Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said this position was extremely short-sighted.
“The problem is that, for existing apartment buildings, there’s currently no consistent set of rules about how to approach this issue,” he said. “Strata committees often look at it and think it’s too hard, so they end up not bothering trying, and doing nothing at all.
“Yet there are now a lot of companies that can provide solutions for buildings in this position. Otherwise, it’s hard to expect the first person to get an EV to bear all the costs and pay for everything, so the second owner and the third and fourth pay nothing.”
Latest figures show that the number of NSW-registered EVs, hybrid petrol-electric cars and those using alternative fuels like hydrogen have more than doubled from 37,238 to 78,644 in the two years to September 2021. In Victoria, EV registrations have more than tripled in the past four years.
Nationally, annual sales have grown to around 20,000, with recent soaring petrol prices adding to the push to electric. “Everyone should have the right to have this option, and apartment buildings shouldn’t be able to hold people back from buying EVs” said Mr Jafari.
As for Dr Gupta, he still feels a huge sadness at having to go back to the technology of the past. “My role is to help people, not harm them with carbon emissions,” he said. “This short-sightedness has compromised my ability to do the best I can for the community.“
A NSW Fair Trading spokesperson didn’t make any comment on the rights of tenants – who make up 50 per cent of apartment residents – but said an owner could approach an owners’ corporation to make a by-law governing their use, or propose to install an EV charging station using the sustainability infrastructure process.
“If the owner cannot resolve the issue with the owners’ corporation they can apply to NSW Fair Trading for mediation,” she said.