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Are you getting what you pay for when you charge your EV at a public charger?

State weights and measures checks gas station output on a regular basis, but has no protocol, tools or staffing to check charging stations.
Posted at 9:05 AM, Jun 06, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — State Department of Weights and Measures says it needs more staffing and new protocols to protect consumers who use EV charging stations.

  • The number of EV drivers in Idaho is on the rise.
  • The State Department of Weights and Measures makes sure that you get what you pay for at the gas pump.
  • That department does not currently have the resources to accurately check on EV charging stations.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)
When you go to a gas station, you know you’re getting what you pay for because Weights and Measures tests the pumps. The problem is, the state is growing like crazy and Weights and Measures says with the addition of electric cars and their charging stations, it doesn’t have what it needs to keep up.

Bryce Walker is one of just a handful of Department of Agriculture investigators tasked with monitoring gas pumps and other measuring devices across Idaho.

"I’m doing roughly 80 to 100 (gas pumps) a day,” said Bryce Walker, investigator for Weights and Measures.

His job is to make sure you get what you pay for at the pump, but the times they are changing.

“Are you looking forward to electrical charging units?" I asked.
"I don’t even know how that’s going to work at this point. I’m sure at some point that’s coming.” said Walker. with a laugh.

Of course, charging stations already exist and are growing in numbers by the month. A real concern to Stacie Ybarra, program manager for Idaho Weights and Measures.

"That’s a big thing biggest thing on the horizon, right? Everything is electric," I asked.

"Yep,” said Ybarra as she nodded in agreement.

And at Weights and Measures, they don’t have a plan to inspect them.

“Currently, we don’t do anything,” said Ybarra.

Idaho Power works with charger manufacturers and points out one of the difficulties for the state.

“With charging also there’s a range of charging types and so we really want to make sure our customers pick the right type of charging to meet their goals,” said Patti Best, with Idaho Power.

But Weights and Measures says strange technology is just the beginning.

“Especially with the new technologies that are coming out, we’ve got electric vehicle charging stations and we don’t have the staff to be able to check those,” said Ybarra.

And Ybarra says the legislature will have to deal with it at some point and buy the standards that states like California already use.

Likely, they still have time because most EV drivers don’t use public chargers very often.

"The statistics out there are saying about 85 percent of charging is done at home.” said Best.

But as charging times improve, accuracy at the charging station is likely to be a bigger issue, and the state of Idaho is still playing catchup.