FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John City Council has decided they won’t sign an agreement with B.C. Hydro to build more electric vehicle charging stations in the City.
The City already has three electric charging stations for the public to use at the Pomeroy Sport Centre, City Hall and at the City’s public works building.
Earlier this year, the City applied for a grant with Northern Development Initiative Trust to fund maintenance and repairs of the current charging stations.
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B.C. Hydro is working with the Provincial and Federal Governments to expand access to fast-charging stations from Prince George into the B.C. Peace by 2022. Hydro is proposing nine new charging stations along Highway 97, 6, and 28 and upgrades to 20 existing sites.
While Fort St. John City Council agrees with the idea in principle, the lack of notice from B.C. Hydro and the short time-line to sign the agreement caused concern for Mayor Lori Ackerman.
“I realize this might be an opportunity, but I was not impressed with the time-line. I don’t know if they’ve done this to every municipality across British Columbia, but this was like oh, we forgot Northeast B.C.”
B.C. Hydro was asking the City to sign the agreement by July 23, after inviting them to participate in the program via email on July 8.
Watch the full discussion City Council discussion below.
Council was also concerned that the terms of the 10-year agreement could change since Hydro just changed an agreement to buy electricity from the City’s micro-hydro project.
In 2016, the City of Fort St. John built a micro-hydro project downhill from the City’s wastewater treatment centre. The generator creates 780 MWh of energy each year. The City receives $75,000 annually from B.C. Hydro for the electricity that is generated.
That agreement could end earlier than planned since B.C. Hydro and the Province have proposed changes to the Clean Energy Act. The changes could mean Hydro will no longer be obligated to support projects like the City of Fort St. John’s and instead buy cheaper electricity from the United States.
“We’ve had an agreement with them in the past and it changed. Even though we argued the point. We will just receive this for information”
The Mayor went on to say it would be better if this opportunity was given to private enterprises that run and operate existing gas stations.
Council decided to receive the agreement for information only, rather than respond and sign the agreement.