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Electric vehicle charging stations may be in jeopardy

Preliminary information on the price of Phase 3 electricity could make the project too pricey
possible charging station location
The electric vehicle charging stations the Town of Barrhead hopes to construct with the funding from a Municipal Climate Change Action Centre grant might be in jeopardy because the cost of the Phase 3 type electricity could prove too costly. If the installation of the charging stations goes ahead, one of the proposed locations would be the parking stalls near the gazebo on Main Street.

BARRHEAD – Barrhead area residents and visitors to the community who were looking forward to being able to charge their electric vehicles (EV) at a town electric charging station may be out of luck. 

This is because the Town of Barrhead's plans to install two Level 3 EV charging stations have potentially hit a snag. 

A Level 3 charging station is the quickest of all the current charging station types, allowing up to three vehicles to charge up to 80 per cent of their battery capacity in 30 minutes.  

Chief administrative officer Edward LeBlanc told councillors during their April 27 meeting that while no official decision has been made yet, after further investigation, he believes the costs involved could prove prohibitive. 

He added that although the municipality had secured funding to construct the two charging stations, the cost of running the Phase 3 type of electricity, estimated at about $13,500, would be up to the town. 

However, LeBlanc said the more prohibitive cost would be the electricity itself. 

"It is expensive," he said. "The cost to the town for one station would be around $1,400 a month. The cost for two stations would be roughly $2,000 a month, regardless of use." 

LeBlanc said they are in discussions with FortisAlberta about potential ways to lower the bill and he hopes to have an official report along with administration's recommendation ready for the May 10 meeting. 

Coun. Ty Assaf noted that when council was first presented with the potential of adding the two stations, they believed it would be on a cost-recovery basis. 

LeBlanc said after discussions with an industry supplier about the going rate they said it was about $20 per hour. 

"(At that rate) the math just isn't there for cost recovery," he said. 

The topic of installing an EV charging station first came before council in June 2020 after receiving an invitation to participate in the Northwest Alberta Vehicle Charging Network. 

Town of Edson mayor Kevin Zahara made the invitation as part of a form letter sent to several of the region's municipalities, including the Town of Athabasca, the Town of Whitecourt, Woodlands County, the Town of Westlock and both Barrhead municipalities. 

At the time, both Barrhead municipalities accepted the letter as information.  

It is worth noting that the Northwest Alberta Vehicle Charging Network never came to fruition. 

The roughly $200,000 grant for the construction of the EV stations came from an approximate $3.4 million fund from the federal Natural Resources Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP). 

The fund is being administered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) and is open to municipalities on a first-come-first-served basis. 

The MCCAC is a partnership between the province, AM and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta. Its purpose is to help Alberta municipalities, school authorities and other community organizations lower their carbon footprint by advancing actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy costs. 

Barry Kerton, 



Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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