Queensland Electricity Connection Rule Changes - restrictions on EV home charging

Energex and Ergon (Qld) are now enforcing anti EV / solar policies.

They have ruled that even the smallest wall mounted charger must be connected to a controlled load circuit. That means:

  1. EV charging can be turned off by the network at any time. These controlled load circuits come with slightly lower electricity prices, and is sometimes used for hot water and pool pumps. Est cost to install controlled load and switchboard upgrade $4000. A finacial impediment to owning an EV.

  2. The usual wisdom when installing solar is to put the pool pump etc back with the main circuit, and run the pump when the sun is out using a timer or something smarter. This saves even more money and is greener. .

  3. Putting the EV charging on a separate controlled load circuit means the solar cannot charge your EV. Not the clean solution I was seeking. Another anti solar policy from Qld.

The only realistic solution in Qld is to upgrade the home to 3 phase power and replace the solar system with a 3 phase solar system. Costs? Circa $20,000. ( if you are building a house, i suggest you get 3 phase power and a circuit box with 12 more din spaces than you need today)

For the writer it gets even harder.

Because I live an in a townhouse complex, and cabling goes under the foundations I would have to dig up the foundations of 3 townhouses and 50m of concrete to install a 3 phase or controlled load cable. Est cost $120,000 but only if the neighbours consented. ( not likely)

The nearest commercial charger is a 20 minute drive and as I work from home is not convenient.

Catch 22?

Yet another example of Queensland authorities and their abuse of power, hiding behind 'technical reasons" to protect coal fired.

The network can’t cope? Its not as if they didn’t know EVs were coming. The Brisbane office first had a experimental EV van used by the office staff: when? I rode in it in appx 1982.

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The Electric Vehicle Council provided the following submission to Energy Queensland on the changes to the QECM limiting how home chargers can be connected to the network.

The Executive Summary page 2 of the submission provides a useful non technical overview.

Two thoughts reading what was submitted.

  • The QLD Rules are imposing restrictions that Victoria and others do not see necessary.
  • There are other solutions including intelligent self management - smart chargers that can optimise home consumption from solar PV without asking consumers to surrender control.

It’s also a discussion relevant to more than the EV market. It is also about whether the industry and government are acting in their own best interests to the detriment of consumers.

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There are capacity constraints in the electrical network/grid. Even in California which is often touted as the EV model to aspire to, has at times, restricted EV charging:

due to capacity constraints.

Early adopters of any new technology often find constraints to adoption.

Government’s, network operators and generators will be spending over a trillion dollar in the near future to try an overcome some of these constrains as well as try an ensure there is capacity in the network/grid for all users.

If I am right, you should still be able to charge from a standard GPO, at a maximum of about 2400W. The constraints relate to higher/faster rates of charging through wall mounted chargers.

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I’m not about to say how practical that is, or likely to prove acceptable. Those who wrote the submission are the individuals you need to respond to re the reliability of the submission, and what EV owners are likely to support.

My 2 pennies worth:
A smart meter, ToU tariff, with a DRS option should be more than sufficient to permit a nominal 30A - 7.2kW class fixed charger on a standard household single phase supply with or without solar PV.

The new rules favour the retailers and distributors who in the preferred option take your house hold export at a low cost on the standard household export tariff. It’s subsequently resold to you with a mark up on the tariff 33. Technically the energy flows in that part of the balance never leave your nearest common distribution transformer.

It would be better for the network if they never left your home DB. Of course then there would be nothing in it for your retailer or distributor. Cynically the real reasoning behind the change in the rules and zip to do with a trillion of investment. In fact the more we can self consume and not export the less the demands placed on the future network.

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It may be helpful to mention what “DNSP” is.

The sensible approach, if you have solar panels, would seem to be to charge the EV from the panels and never from the grid - but that’s only going to work if you have the necessary load control inside your property (or to use a non-grid connected extra string and inverter??) - and that may or may not suit your usage and your conditions.

As you suggest, retrofitting to meet the requirements, particularly in a multi-dwelling property, may be financially infeasible. For $120,000 you would likely be better off moving.

To be fair, there is a difference between when a technology is “exotic” and when it is mainstream.

How long before someone works out how to gang two GPOs to make a 4.8 kW EV charger? :wink:

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It’s relevant to note that the RACQ and Energy Consumers Australia have also made submissions in response to the proposed update by Ergon and Energex (Qld’s Distributed Network Service Providers - DNSP) to the QECM (QLD Electricity Connection Manual).

The RACQ:
https://www.racq.com.au/about-us/news-and-media/news/2023/7/racqs-submission-on-qld-electricity-connection-manual

My highlight.

Energy Consumers Australia:
Submission to Energy Queensland on the Queensland Electricity Connection Manual Consultation

My highlight.

That the changes impact Queensland consumers adversely is raised by both organisations. The intended changes are also not consistent with others nationally raising further concerns.

Note the QECM 2023 draft revision V4 (211 pages), is currently not showing as final in my searches. The QECM 2020 version only 132 pages long is still referenced on the Distributor’s web sites.

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Yes you are correct, however;

  1. These chargers no longer come with an EV. They are not cheap. Eg Tesla $550 vs $750 for a wall charger with 3 times the charge rate and smarts ,app control.

  2. With a charge rate so slow it will take 23 to 40 hours to fully charge a battery. Some weeks i do long drives, and overnight charging is ok. 23 hours wong work for many.

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Not really. That’s what the grid is trying to tell you.

If you are charging overnight then you are charging from the grid - and they want control over that.

If you are charging during the day (and you have panels) then you could be charging from your panels and the whole thing doesn’t need to go anywhere near the grid.

So a theoretical question to you could be: does your roof have space for more panels?

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Unlikely to be effective, reliable or safe considering how the typical home circuits and GPO’s are connected. No comment on what is legal. I’ve 15amp outlets for the welder which are and are on the same phase as the solar PV.

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Ok - Overnight charging ie for 8 Hours is ok for me on the occasions I have 2 full days of driving, but home at night. Ie 8 hours is ok 23 hours is not ok.

You are suggesting a dedicated solar to EV setup. That’s wasteful - if the car is out during the day the generation capacity goes nowhere. . I don’t have that money to waste. And I filled my roof with as many panels as possible 9.95kW. Not using south facing roofs is a furphy - i’m getting only 19% less production on N vs S facing panels. So yes teh roof is filled.

Doesn’t your EV come with a standard power point flex and plug to plug the EV into a standard GPO/Australian three pin power points? I would be very surprised if it didn’t, otherwise travelling to far would be near impossible unless there was a charger which could take your vehicle’s charger plug type.

Thinking aloud and I know this is an option for Telsas and some other EVs… the other option is to install a dedicated 20A circuit with GPO to your garage (near your garage). This requires a new circuit from the switch board. It should be relatively easy to do if you already have an existing 10A plug in the garage. An electrician can pull out the old power cable, and upgrade the cable and plug to 20A. Doesn’t require approvals etc from the network operator.

The 20A circuit can be changed at any time as it won’t be on a dedicated tariff and could be used to capture solar generated during the day before it is exported. 20A in theory should take half the time to charge than a standard 10A GPO outlet, and doesn’t require a special charger to be installed.

Depending on the length of cabling required and how easy it is to do, the cost could be several $100s rather than several $1000s.

The thing to check is that the car can be set to charge at 20A from a 20A GPO. If it does, it may be a practicable solution.

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Hi - nice ideas but the best advice is well researched:

  1. July 22 Tesla Australia cuts standard home charging cable from new cars
    Tesla Australia cuts standard home charging cable from new cars - Drive

  2. From Energex:

Our Queensland Electricity Connection Manual (PDF 4.7 mb) provides rules on the connection of equipment such as wall-mounted EV chargers. A typical 7kW (~32 Amp) single-phase EV charger can’t be connected to a continuous supply (uncontrolled) tariff. It can only be connected to an economy, or controlled, tariff.

and

fI you want access to 24/7 charging at home at charging rates above 20A (~4.6 kW), your only option is to upgrade your electrical installation to 3-phase, and buy and have installed a 3-phase charger. However, this is only viable if your EV can accept a 3-phase charge.

You are suggesting a plug in <20 amp charger? Thats back to the trickle charger. Even a 16 amp Trickle charger is still 3.7 kW, vs the standard home wall charger at 7.6kW , which offers appx double the charging rate. FYI My PV system delivers 8.2kW (max), and clips to this often, 9 months a year

They are still available for purchase as an accessory if you have a post-2022 Tesla. It may be a necessity if one travels to an area not serviced well by fast chargers or there is a high demand any available fast chargers. It provides an alternative charging option.

Which is correct and why a 20A GPO in the garage is an option to consider. Telsa can charge single phase up to 16A with a wall connector. It is better than a standard 10A GPO.

While not a perfect solution, it might currently be the most practical way to try and maximise solar use (assuming the car will be at home during daylight hours).

Yes. But not as wasteful as spending $120k tunneling under neighbouring houses. However, as your roof is full, that suggestion is not possible - so it’s an academic point.

Or if the car is full (not in need of charging).

Then going back to the other suggestion that I made - controlling the flow of power within your own property so that you never charge the EV from the grid (but having a single grid-connected set of panels, which you already have - and possibly retaining the 10A GPO grid charge as the desperation backup option). However that would need to be designed and implemented by a qualified electrician.

The bottom line is that the grid doesn’t care whether @gary1 charges his EV from the grid but the grid anticipates the day when all passenger vehicles are electric and if they all charge from the grid at high power in an uncontrolled manner then the grid collapses.

You can choose to be part of that debacle or you can plan for being not part of it. :wink:

It does depend on your latitude though. What works in Queensland doesn’t necessarily work in Tasmania.

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And planning should occur before any decisions are made. Buying a EV is very difficult to buying cars in the past. One has to consider a lot of factors more than just the car purchase.

While it might not help in the above case, before making any decisions, one needs to consider

  • how the vehicle will be charged, including type of charging, and its associated costs;
  • the location one hopes it will be charged and what needs to be done to facilitate charging at that location;
  • where the energy for charging comes from and practicalities and costs; and
  • external constraints such as network constraints, living in shared communities (viz. multi-dwelling communities with shared areas and infrastructure), charging at work/away from home etc.

All the above aren’t mutually exclusive and one consideration has the potential to significantly impact on other considerations. The idiom ‘having your ducks in a row’, very much applies before purchasing an EV.

Buying an EV and then hoping everything associated with the above considerations will work as one sees fit after the purchase will lead to disappointment, frustrations and compromises.

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Unfortunately not possible within the rules which for a single phase (100/80amp) mains connection do not permit a 32A/7.4kW standard EV charger to be connected to the same circuit (household power and lighting) and meter as your solar PV.

What is and is not within the legally accepted competencies of a qualified electrician, there are significant limitations to what they can do. Design of what you suggest may not be within those. Whether what you suggest complies with the requirements of the QECM current or proposed V4 is a further question.

The submission by the Electric Vehicle Council in response to the proposed changes to the QECM offers several practical alternatives. None require significant design changes, given the most effective is permitted on the other side of the border.

P.S.
If there is a design work around for single phase customers, Solar Quotes had this to say.

In Queensland that includes knowing it’s not possible to use self consumption of solar PV to charge your EV using a Type 2 charger at 7.4kW. Assumes one has a standard single phase household connection. It’s a novel outcome that (the rules) ask owners of Solar PV with EV’s to pay their retailer and distributor for self consumption when charging their vehicles at home. :roll_eyes:

A post was merged into an existing topic: Home Electric Vehicle Chargers

… and when one ordered the car in March, for an October delivery, and the Qld Energex rules change in July, that is how one gets screwed.

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Firstly, I’m not supporting the rules as they are or the proposed changes.

The rules did not change in July this year.
The restrictions on single phase connection of type 2 chargers exists in the 2020 V3 of the rules. The proposed (draft) V4 retains the restrictions while adding further to ensure compliance.

Electricity Queensland invited public submission on the proposed revisions to the QECM draft V4 in July 2023. It’s up to Electricity QLD, the distributors Ergon and Energex, and Qld Government Minister/Dept to decide whether they will pay attention to the concerns and issues raised in the submissions on EV charging, or leave things as they are.

You can find links to both versions and several of the submissions critical of the EV charging changes in my earlier post. Queensland Electricity Connection Rule Changes - restrictions on EV home charging - #6 by mark_m