Potential for vehicle charging stations in Coronation

Written by Terri Huxley

Town of Coronation administration has been in conversation with the Government of Alberta discussing the opportunity to provide all municipalities with a first-come, first-serve platform for municipalities to be funded up to $200,000 to install an Electrical Vehicle (EV) charging port in the community.

The province has stipulated that the cost for the hook-up from the required breaker panel to the EV port would need to be at the municipality’s expense and would be necessary to have them installed by a licensed electrician.

The EV port would be treated the same as a “gas station,” where the meter would require payment for the use of the port.

This would be revenue to the municipality and provide an alternative income for the municipality.

There is an option for private businesses to develop their EV ports; however, at this time, it’s understood that the grant is for municipalities.

The current opportunity for the municipality is there are not a large number of these chargers, and there is a large gap for charging stations in eastern Alberta and within the Paintearth region.

Since this is a first-come, first-serve situation, councillors and administration felt it was best to pounce on this idea as it could create an influx in urban travellers who use these types of vehicles.

This could be a market to attract people to the campground and possibly other destinations within the community or region.

Sustainable Projects Group (SPG) has provided the municipality with their EV Charger installation and funding proposal for council to review.

At the meeting, council became comfortable with the benefits of Option #1 which has SPG perform all required site assessments, electrical inspections, system design and costing, specification selection, as well as complete the funding application for the town at no up-front fee, and will install the EV charging stations, if and when the application is accepted by the MCCAC (Municipal Climate Change Action Centre).

In this instance, SPG will provide the town with two or more quotes from major EV charging brands, such as Flo, HyperCharge, ABB and ChargePoint to ensure all relevant systems have been analyzed.

This will enable Coronation to quickly apply for the grant and utilize no capital expenditures to do so.

Following approval from the MCCAC, SPG would then install the system.

After installation, SPG would commission and start up the system, as well as provide the Town of Coronation staff with a tutorial on how to operate the charger’s hardware and software.

This option is the most streamlined approach and will ensure that the application is received by the MCCAC as fast as possible.

Council passed a motion to go with this option under their application. If successful, they will continue with this moving forward.

It was also advised administration look at potential sites within Coronation to place the station such as the arena as it has the power capacity potential for the charging station.

ATCO franchise fee frozen

As of recently, it has been a growing question within Coronation about energy bills and the costs – specifically ATCO franchise fees.

Administration reached out to the local electrical provider for some information and has been provided with some information and details on the current cost analysis.

Some key points provided by ATCO included that the Regulated Rate Option (RRO) is currently around $0.15 kWH.

Last year ATCO chose not to increase the rates but were unable to hold this for two years with all the increasing costs.

The distribution and transmission charges are the cost of building and maintaining the electrical system that brings the energy to the sites.

It is expensive and is made more so because of the way the areas had been divided up years ago.

“The highly populated areas have more customers per line than we have here. So yes, our rates are higher than the folks living in the cities and on Highway 2 corridor,” said CAO Flint in his report to council.

“The rates the customers are set on is determined by what the site is. D11 is the residential rate, and the charges are based on consumption, the higher the use, the higher the transmission distribution charges. D56 is farm rates billed on farm breaker sizes.”

Coronation has chosen to hold its fees for energy services for quite some time, at a rate of 3.75 per cent which has been the same rate since 2004.

Council has in the past stated that they do not use it as a source of revenue due to the higher costs associated with energy costs.

Administration did some research as to what other villages and towns have their franchise fees set at, seeing a range from eight to 16 per cent.

As council reviewed this information at their latest meeting, it was unanimously agreed to accept this knowledge as information, choosing to keep the franchise fee at 3.75 per cent as they found this gives the town an incentive for newcomers.

For individual customers with questions their best option is to call ATCO’s general inquiries line.

MSI agreement amendment

The provincial government has notified municipalities they will be extending the life of the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) which funds a large percentage of many municipalities’ operating and capital budgets.

The plan was to eventually let this program die to replace what they are calling the Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF).

Since it is taking more time to transfer to the new LGFF, MSI has been extended for another two years at 60 per cent capacity.

The new system will take effect March 31, 2024.

Council was required to sign the amended contract which they passed by motion to do so.

Condolences to Castor

Out of respect for firefighter Stephen Rayfield who lost his life attending a single-vehicle collision on Feb. 4 on Highway 599, there has been an outpouring of support from several communities and individual fire departments around Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Council asked to have administration to put the town’s flag at half-mast to honour him during his funeral on Feb. 15 which they agreed they would do.

 

Terri Huxley
ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.