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Retrofitting EV charging in strata properties

Key concepts and advice


As the popularity of electric vehicles increases, vehicle charging will increasingly be valued by renters and owners of strata units. While new developments may offer charging facilities, existing strata properties present opportunities for retrofitting.

There is no single best solution that applies to all strata situations. This guide introduces some key concepts and links to further useful resources.

Installation issues

Wiring electric vehicle charging outlets back to the meters of individual units allows the greatest freedom for unit owners to choose their own tariffs and avoids imposing administrative and maintenance burdens on the Owner Corporation (OC). This should be preferred wherever practical.

Where the allocated parking is within or continuous with the individual unit area, adding a charging outlet can be arranged by the unit owner perhaps requiring only a simple permission. At a minimum, a simple power point and the portable EVSE charge cord supplied with an electric vehicle may be all that is needed. Alternatively, a simple wall-mounted EVSE might be preferred for three times faster charging.

Where the allocated parking space is separate from (but close to) the unit, the Executive Committee could approve fixed cabling traversing common property back to the unit’s meter as a ‘minor use’ subject to the individual unit owner covering all costs (UTMA Schedule 2.4, see resource below).

Smart systems may be needed to dynamically regulate charging rates and share the strata developments’ available supply capacity once many chargers are in use at the same time. During the evening peak, there might be very little spare capacity but there is likely to be ample capacity during the rest of the day and night. At times of high demand, a smart system will slow or stop charging. When overall demand is lower, charging rates are automatically increased. There are companies that will assess a building, design such systems and manage them if required, including the electronic billing arrangements. On-going costs of subscriptions and service contracts should be examined closely.

In other situations, a simple kilowatt-hour counter on each line to an allocated parking space may be sufficient. This needs someone to read them periodically and prepare a table of data for billing purposes. An OC can enter into agreements to provide a service and bill individual unit owners if authorised by an ordinary resolution (simple majority at a general meeting) (UTMA s29 and s30). This may be simple if the OC has a flat electricity tariff. If the OC is on a peak demand tariff, cutting the power via a timer and relay during the evening peak is a simple way to avoid adding to the peak demand charges while leaving relatively cheap, flat-rate charging available for 20 hours a day. Time of use tariff charging could be limited to the off-peak period.

Fast charging

Fast charging is rarely required for home charging. For daily use many EV owners routinely charge from ordinary 10A power points but faster charging can be convenient to fit charging into narrower off-peak periods, for example.

Where possible it is best to resist demands for fast charging from common property supply outlets until the supply capacity has been assessed because this could enable early adopters to take more than their fair share of available electrical capacity, inequitably restricting options for later adopters.

Consider the risk for conflict and competition if you choose to have a small number of shared fast chargers on site. EV owners would probably prefer guaranteed access to slower outlets in their individually allocated parking spaces. A shared fast charger could be blocked for days while the owner of a parked vehicle cannot be found and an outage would affect all. If it is impractical to wire up the parking areas, the Owners Corporation could consider adopting a Rule (UTMA Part 6) to ensure equitable access to a shared fast charger.

Staged development

The planning of staged roll-outs is discussed in the guides on the WattBlock website (see resources below). For example, several early adopters might use simple 10A or 15A sockets sub-metered from a common property supply, installed at their own cost. It may be easier to gain owners’ support for a smart system of networked charging outlets later when there is more demand.

Where there are existing power points in a carpark, be aware that it would usually not be possible to use them all at once for EV charging. Typically, there might be (say) six 10A power points on a single circuit behind one 20A circuit breaker. So, it would only be possible to charge two cars, not six. Short-term, ad hoc solutions for the first few EV drivers could include allowing two vehicles per circuit to charge at 8A each or more vehicles might be able to charge if they agree to alternate charging times. The vehicle owners could reimburse the OC for the cost of electricity based on reasonable, distance-based estimates weighted slightly in favour of the OC to ensure that the OC could not be out of pocket. Such arrangements can buy time for planning and building support for better long-term solutions.

Legal issues

Having sub-metered supplies behind a meter could be considered an embedded network. Some strata properties operate embedded networks. These are strictly regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator when they are supplying ‘premises’ (i.e. the units). Compliance is much less strict when supplying vehicles because vehicles are not considered as premises. The rationale is that fewer consumer protections are required because a vehicle can go elsewhere for its energy supply if it doesn’t like the deal with the OC but a unit cannot.

In the ACT (and more recently NSW) only an ordinary resolution is required to approve the installation of ‘sustainability infrastructure’ on the common property (UTMA s23), so long as certain specified details are addressed in the proposal. An OC’s rules cannot prohibit the installation of sustainability infrastructure. However, restrictions are possible when justified on the grounds of equity. An example might be not allowing a unit to install very fast charging on the grounds that it might prevent other units from installing even slow charging – instead the available supply capacity should be shared equitably.


Wattblock have produced some excellent guides (N.B. NSW legislation references predate some recent changes)

UTMA is the Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011 (ACT)

The ACT Branch of AEVA has several members expert in charging infrastructure who may be contacted for further advice via the secretary at