LETTER: No such thing as ‘free’ power


Editor: The Municipality of C-K is giving away free power to electric vehicle owners through their seven new electric re-charging stations as a way to “help reduce range anxiety when travelling.” And for the next six months to boot!


Is this the best excuse they can come up with to justify this waste of tax dollars and to offset the long list of reasons why this idea stinks? This brainchild is akin to offering free phone plans to new smart- phone users because they are just learning how to use them, even though they have been on the market for years.

Electric vehicles are not a new phenomenon. It’s not as if we are talking about something futuristic and confusing or perhaps even scary. No, EVs are becoming pretty common, the horse is long out of the pen and it doesn’t need further prodding (but then, who is going turn down “free,” right?).

Anyone who owns an EV has very likely done a great deal of research on the subject and bought it fully aware of and accepting of the range limitations and any other uncertainties that accompany a new technology purchase. This initiative is preaching to the converted.

Anyone who can afford to buy one of these pricey vehicles can afford to fuel them too.

Just because you can’t see hydro does not mean it is free; it costs real money that real people – most of whom are NOT benefitting from this free program – are paying for. Where is our free gasoline or diesel?

Here, however, is what concerns and disturbs me most of all, and should be of concern for all C-K taxpayers: That the masterminds behind this initiative seemingly did not recognize and consider that free energy has nothing to do with range anxiety. Free power is not a barrier. Rather, range anxiety is totally a function of the charge capacity of the vehicles’ batteries, and specific to this situation, the absence or shortage of charging stations. And C-K overcame that barrier with the initial $170,000 investment in the seven charging stations. They already did the heavy lifting and there was absolutely no need to pile on more cost in the form of free power.

This fact was as obvious, but somehow it did not occur to our municipal thinkers. It’s this lack of logic, and common sense, and business acumen, and accountability that really concerns me.

The free power that is being given away is a totally unnecessary and inequitable waste of taxpayer dollars. And while it is pretty embarrassing that our municipal leaders could not even come up with a logical excuse as to why they did it, it’s never too late to admit you screwed-up and correct the error (i.e. shut down the free power). Or does that make too much sense for some to comprehend?

Let’s at least hope that the free use of these stations is being assessed and monitored over the coming months. Who is using them? How many of the users are repeat users? What is the primary reason for their use (if there is a reason other than taking advantage of free)? How much of the free power will be consumed by municipal employees while at work? Will we be told how much free power was donated at the end of the project?

And here’s one more question: Why should it take six months to evaluate this wasteful project? Maybe the answer to this is the same as the “screwing in a lightbulb” question.

In closing, it really feels like the municipality jumped into this without much thought at all on how to operate and manage the business of EV charging stations. Everyone else seems to know how to run their business, why is it so difficult for C-K to run theirs?

Rick Youlton



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