BC Hydro forges ahead with fast chargers for electric vehicles

One for Burns Lake to be in operation this year; next year for Houston

All is ready for a BC Hydro fast charger station for electric vehicles to be installed next month in the municipal parking lot beside the Tweedsmuir Hotel. A second charger, partially financed by the Village of Burns Lake, will be installed there next year. (Priyanka Ketkar/Lakes District News)

BC Hydro’s fast charging station for electric vehicles in Burns Lake should be ready for service next month while one tagged for Houston won’t be installed until next year.

These chargers, called Level 3, can charge an electric vehicle in approximately 30 minutes and are part of a network the provincial crown corporation is putting in place along Hwy16 from Prince George to Prince Rupert.

They’ll add to others already installed east of Prince George and south of that city as work intensifies to encourage more people to either buy electric vehicles or to venture further around the province knowing there is a charging network in place.

Pad preparations for the Burns Lake Level 3 charger are in place at the municipal parking lot right beside the Tweedsmuir Hotel with installation and commissioning set for early October.

BC Hydro is covering the estimated $250,000 cost of the Level 3 charger and won’t be charging for its use although it is applying to the BC Utilities Commission to eventually establish a user rate. Each station will have two charging ports.

Right next to BC Hydro’s charger will be a Level 2 charger which can power up electric vehicles in anywhere from two to four hours. That’ll replace a Level 2 charger which is no longer working and the Village of Burns Lake is paying $5,000 for the new one with the Community Energy Association of B.C. covering the remainder of the costs through senior government grants. Its installation is expected next year.

Level 2 chargers are intended to attract electric vehicle-driving tourists in the hopes they’ll have lunch and shop while their vehicles are being charged.

Houston’s Level 3 charger, to go in at the laneway north of 9th Ave. is scheduled to be installed next year pending a council decision to proceed with a key portion of Houston’s continuing downtown improvement program.

“The electric vehicle station installation was delayed as a result of the deferral of the Highway 16 Utilities Undergrounding Project until 2021, given that the electrical supply line for this station was designed for underground,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

“The downtown revitalization project will still incorporate the let-down for this station in the curb and gutter for the 9th-St laneway to ensure that there are no structural changes resulting from this installation,” he said.

Houston is also to get a Level 2 charger as part of the Community Energy Association of BC program. That’ll replace a very old Level 1 charger for which the District of Houston can no longer find parts.

Here’s a rundown of Level 3 charger plans elsewhere along Hwy16:

– Prince George. Construction scheduled this fall at the Real Canadian Superstore

– Vanderhoof. BC Hydro is backing away here after learning a business has plans to install one.

– Fraser Lake. Construction to start next month at the recreation complex.

– Smithers. Completion targeted by year’s end at the municipal parking lot at 3767 Second Ave.

– New Hazelton. To be placed at the location at the 10th Ave. location of a planned new municipal hall. Installation is pending the municipality’s confirmation of hall’s construction.

– Terrace. An original plan with a private landowner has been set aside and BC Hydro will now work with the city to identify another location.

– Kitimat. Paused to 2021 pending confirmation of the District’s downtown redevelopment plans.

– Prince Rupert. Pending an agreement with the city, construction scheduled for this fall at First Ave. and McBride St.

There is already one Level 3 charging station along Hwy16, installed by the provincial highways ministry at a highways rest stop at Boulder Creek, just west of Kitwanga.

Burns Lake Lakes District News

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