Close up of an electric vehicle being recharged

FAQs

Does Hydro Ottawa support electric vehicles?

Hydro Ottawa believes electric vehicles (EV) are an important part of a cleaner transportation strategy. Hydro Ottawa encourages customers who are considering purchasing an EV and installing chargers to contact Hydro Ottawa early in the process. This will help us collaborate with customers on assessing any electrical upgrades and/or distribution system expansion that may be needed (and the associated costs), and understanding the intended timing of installations.

Can I get a dedicated electrical service to my property for an electric vehicle charging station?

No. As per Hydro Ottawa’s Conditions of Service, we allow one supply point per property. An EV charger needs to be supplied from the existing service.

Who can I contract to install my EV charger? Who does Hydro Ottawa recommend?

Hydro Ottawa recommends consulting with electric car dealership or the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa. They may be able to suggest an electrician or electrical contractor for your consideration.

Does the electricity service to my house have the capacity for an EV charger? Will I have to upgrade my electricity service or electrical panel inside my house?

Hydro Ottawa can verify if the size of the electrical service to your house has the capacity for an EV charger. Typically, this can be completed within 10 business days.

However, your electrician or electrical contractor is in the best position to confirm whether your service size is adequate for your regular use in addition to an EV’s battery charger. This is also a good time to ensure your electrical service is up to current electrical standards. For example, you may need an upgrade if you have a fuse panel box and not a circuit breaker box. You may also need to relocate your meter to a more convenient and accessible location. 

If your electricity service needs an upgrade, complete our self-serve Service Request form to receive an estimate. A Load Summary Form (Appendix A) will need to be completed by your electrician or electrical contractor.

Will my electricity bills increase if I install an EV charger?

You will be using more electricity so your bill will reflect this change. We encourage you to charge your electric vehicle during off-peak periods when the price of electricity is much lower. However, the cost of the energy to run an electric vehicle is much lower than the cost to run the same model vehicle on fossil fuels.

Learn more on reducing your energy use.

What if my power goes out while my EV is charging? Can I drive my vehicle in a blackout?

An EV battery cannot be charged without electricity from either the electricity distribution system or a generator. If your power is out, battery charging will be delayed until electricity service is restored. Hybrid gas/electric or extended electric range vehicles have a gasoline engine to recharge the battery.

Can I use my EV to power my house?

Your vehicle’s manufacturer must support this use of the EV battery.

EV owners must also follow the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. Anytime electricity is being sent from a battery, inverter, generator or EV back through wires into the electricity distribution system, a personal and property safety hazard exists.  

We also suggest you submit an online service request for all energy producing projects, and Hydro Ottawa will review it to provide feedback and connection requirements (if applicable).

Can I use my EV as an Energy Resource Facility (ERF)?

An electric vehicle charger is considered an Energy Resource Facility when it is connected directly or indirectly to the electricity distribution system and is configured to redirect electricity into the grid. For more information, refer to Hydro Ottawa’s Conditions of Service regarding Energy Resource Facilities.

How far will my EV take me? What if I run out of power? Where are EV chargers located? How big a battery will I need? How long will it take to charge? Will it work in the winter? How much do they cost, and will I save money? What else should I know about EVs?

Electric Mobility of Canada has an excellent website with lots of information and relevant links. Their article “EV 101” is a great starting point.

Does Hydro Ottawa have any incentives for EVs, EV chargers, or off-peak charging?

Hydro Ottawa is a regulated company and cannot use its rates to incent consumer products. Incentives are provided by federal government, and possibly your EV manufacturer. The government is now proposing new incentives as part of their Climate Change Action Plan. Current information on incentives can be found on the Plug’n Drive website.

How do I get an EV charger connected in my condominium building for my personal use? Does Hydro Ottawa get involved and does it meter the electricity consumption?

The installation of an EV charger in a condominium is a decision that must be made by the condominium owner or board. As a condominium unit owner, you can have that discussion with the condominium board. A decision will need to be made with regards to responsibility for the cost of the electricity supply and whether it will be based on actual consumption or a flat fee. Hydro Ottawa can provide suggestions and install a meter or suite metering for an EV charger.

How do I arrange for the connection of an EV charger to my business?

We suggest you submit an online service request and Hydro Ottawa will contact you to meet and discuss connection requirements.