Ontario reducing red tape to expand electric vehicle charger supply

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer
kkellar@fortfrances.com

Owners of electric vehicles in the province might soon find it easier to stop and top off their charge.

The Government of Ontario has announced it is committed to streamlining the process of building and connecting new public electric vehicle (EV) chargers to the province’s electric grid. Beginning on May 27, 2024, all local utilities will follow the new streamlined process that the province says will make it easier to set up new chargers in Ontario, and thus support the sale and uptake of electric vehicles in the province.

According to the province’s release, each of the 58 individual local electricity utilities within Ontario currently have different procedures for connecting new public EV charging stations within their service areas, which include differing timelines, information requirements and responsibilities for customers. Under the new provincial procedure, each utility will use the government’s standardized forms, timelines and information requirements.

Ontario’s Minister of Energy Todd Smith said the move is aimed at decreasing red tape for utilities, as well as helping to increase the number of electric vehicles on Ontario’s roads.

“As the number of EV owners in Ontario continues to grow, our government is making it easier to put shovels in the ground to build the critical infrastructure needed for drivers to charge their vehicles where and when they need to,” Smith said.

“This is just another step we are taking to reduce red tape, increase EV adoption, and use our clean electricity supply to support the electrification of Ontario’s transportation sector.”

Minister Smith issued a Letter of Direction to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) in December of 2023, calling on them to take steps toward facilitating the efficient integration of EVs into the province’s electric system. The OEB then issued the province-wide streamlined procedures that must be followed by the province’s local utilities. the new Electric Vehicle Charging Connections Procedures (EVCCP) will apply to public charging connections, including those found along highways, at service centres, workplace charging, multi-residential buildings and charging stations used by EV fleets.

According to the province’s release, as of December 2023 there are more than 150,000 EVs registered within the province, which includes both battery-powered vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The release states that the government expects more than one-million EVs on the roads by 2030, and the new streamlined procedures will help to support those vehicles as they cross the province. It will also help the EV market, according to Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“Having attracted over $28 billion in automotive investments in the last three years, our province is a leading jurisdiction in the global production and development of EVs,” Fedeli said.

“By making it easier to build public charging infrastructure, our government is supporting Ontario’s growing end-to-end EV supply chain and ensuring EV drivers can confidently and conveniently power their journeys.”

The push to streamline the process of building public EV chargers is only one part of the Ontario Government’s efforts to support more EV sales in the province. Other strategies being employed include:

  • The EV ChargeON program, which is a $91-million investment to support the installation of public EV chargers outside of Ontario’s large urban centres, including community hubs, Ontario’s highway rest areas, carpool parking lots and Ontario parks
  • The province’s new Ultra-Low Overnight price plan, which reduces the cost for power for those customers who consume larger amounts of electricity overnight, saving them up to $90 per year by shifting demand to the time when it is generally at its lowest across Ontario
  • Making it more convenient for EV owners to travel across the province by installing EV fast chargers at all 20 renovated ONroute stations along the 400 and 401

“Our government is paving the way to an electric future by building the EV charging infrastructure drivers need, where they need it,” said Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Prabmeet Sarkaria.

“By increasing the accessibility of public EV charging stations across the province, including for rural and northern communities, we are providing more sustainable and convenient travel options for drivers.”