Strata Alert: BC Sets Deadlines for Stratas to Obtain Electrical Planning Reports

 

Alex J. Chang, Associate
Phone:  604-685-1255
Email:  ajc@lmlaw.ca

 

In May 2023, Bill 22 made several amendments to the Strata Property Act which are broadly intended to increase electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in the condominiums. At that time the only amendments that came into effect immediately were the changes in voting thresholds for approving and paying for EV charging infrastructure from the contingency reserve fund (CRF). Most other changes were to come into effect later.

On December 6, 2023, the provincial government passed an order in council rolling out more of the changes under Bill 22 and providing more details. One of those changes is the requirement for most strata corporations to obtain an “electrical planning report.” The other changes will be discussed in separate strata alerts.

A strata corporation that has 5 or more strata lots will now be required to obtain an electrical planning report from a qualified person.

The deadline for obtaining the report is December 31, 2026, for many strata corporations on Vancouver Island and in Lower Mainland. This is true for strata corporations in the Metro Vancouver Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, and the Capital Regional District except those on most islands within those districts that are only accessible by air or boat.

For all strata corporations with 5 or more strata lots outside these major urban districts, the deadline for obtaining an electrical planning report is December 31, 2028.

As the name implies, the electrical planning report is intended to help strata corporations plan and prepare for the increasing electrification of the province, including the demand created by EV’s.

The requirements of what must be in a report are set out in s. 5.11 of the Strata Property Regulation and includes:

  • the current capacity of the strata corporation’s electrical system;
  • a list of current demands on the system, including from EV charging, heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting systems;
  • current peak demand and spare capacity of the electrical system;
  • estimates of the capacity needed to electrify heating, cooling, and ventilation;
  • estimates of electrical capacity needed for future demands, including the capacity needed for EV charging, heating, cooling, ventilation and other system that may be modified or installed in the future;
  • steps to reduce demands on the capacity of the electrical system and an estimate of the capacity those steps would make available; and
  • upgrades or modifications that could practically be undertaken to increase the capacity of the electrical system and an estimate of the capacity those changes would make available.

 

Electrical planning reports are intended to do more than just facilitate EV infrastructure. They are also meant to assist with energy efficiency and electrification more broadly. This author anticipates that in the future the province may make additional changes to the law which may encourage strata corporations to implement more changes to electrify their infrastructure more generally, increase their electrical capacity and improve efficiency.

Currently, a strata corporation that has a report or is past the deadline for getting a report, will be subject to requests by owners to install EV charging infrastructure on the common property. These changes will be discussed further in future strata alerts but, broadly speaking, the amendments to the law will make it hard for strata corporations to ignore, delay or refuse requests by owners to install EV chargers.

The electrical planning reports will need to be attached to Form B Information Certificates.

There are limited exemptions for obtaining a report. Legal advice should be sought if your strata corporation is considering not obtaining a report before the deadline.

Lesperance Mendes has been representing and advising British Columbia strata corporations, strata owners, and strata managers since 1997. To find out more about our strata property law practice, contact any member of our strata property law practice group: Paul Mendes, Sat Harwood, Alex Chang, or Amanda Magee.

 

THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE:  This article provides general information and should not be relied upon without independent legal advice with respect to the specific facts of your case.