Safety blitz finds problems with EV chargers

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September 20, 2023 by Adam Malik

Safety blitz finds problems with EV chargers​

EV-charger-electric-vehicle-home-plug.jpg

Image credit: Depositphotos.com
The Electrical Safety Authority is placing a watchful eye on electric vehicle charging installations.

A safety blitz of charging installations found more than 400 incidents of working without a permit. These installations might not be to code or generally safe, putting users and buildings at risk, the agency in charge of electrical installation in Ontario warned.

So the group has launched a safety campaign focused on the importance of only using approved charging equipment.

How are consumers unsafely installing chargers? The ESA found extension cords running across sidewalks, chargers being mounted on trees and more. Improper installation could lead to an electrical fire. So the ESA wants to focus on awareness around EV charging safety.

“But people will do anything to try to get some electrons into their battery,” said James Fraser, general manager of the Electrical Safety Authority, in an episode of ASW Conversations. “And it’s both dangerous for them and their family. But it’s also something that’s just plain unsafe. And we want to make sure that people install these in a safe manner.”

“With more Ontarians using electric vehicles, prioritizing safe charging practices is critical,” said Steve Nelson, general manager of central region at the ESA. “By purchasing a certified charging system and having a Licensed Electrical Contractor with an ESA permit install it, Ontarians can contribute to a safer EV ecosystem.”

The group provided the following list to ensure installations are done safely:

  • Purchase a Canadian-certified charger: An EV charging system must carry the official mark or label of a recognized certification or evaluation agency. View a comprehensive chart of the approval marks.
  • Hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor: Unlicensed or unpermitted work is simply not worth the risk. Electrical fires or other damage to your new EV is too steep a price to pay. If you’re hiring someone to do electrical work in your home, by law in Ontario, it must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor with an ECRA/ESA licence. Find a licensed electrical contractor.
  • Get a notification of work (permit) with the ESA: The Licensed Electrical Contractor doing the installation must file a notification of work with ESA before starting the installation. Ask for a copy for your records. They will also provide you with the ESA Certificate of Acceptance once the work has been completed and accepted as compliant with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
  • Contact your local utility: Electric vehicles can use a lot of power. It’s important to make sure that your electrical panel can handle the extra load. If your home requires an electrical panel upgrade, you will need to contact your local utility. A Licensed Electrical Contractor can assist you in assessing and upgrading your panel.
 
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