Edmonton Installs Two Very Expensive Solar-Powered Phone Charging Benches

They’re called Soofa benches, and they’re $4,000 a piece.

The City of Edmonton has recently decided to purchase a couple of solar-powered phone charges in Edmonton called ‘Soofa Benches’. One of them is located in Churchill Square, the other in Muttart Conservatory’s courtyard.

Edmonton is the first city in Canada to install Soofa benches. The benches can be found in 12 US states and 5 countries globally.

Here’s the Soofa Bench promo video:

Unfortunately, here’s the downside of this whole idea:

The solar-powered phone charging benches consist of only two charging ports, and that’s not the worst of it. Believe it or not, you are unable to charge your phone unless you actually have a charging cable on your person.

That’s right, these $4,000 charging benches were designed only for those that actually carry around a charging cord with them in their pockets wherever they go.

Why couldn’t these charging bays be created for, say, $400? What constitutes paying $4,000 for two charging ports and a solar-panel?

Why couldn’t we just use an electrical socket on the exterior of nearby buildings and simply install $20 charging ports?

Sadly. I do not have the answer to these questions. These are questions that would have to be directed towards Edmonton’s city council.

This is a solar-powered Soofa bench located in Churchill Square, Edmonton [via @taylormadegirls]
This is a solar-powered Soofa bench located in Churchill Square, Edmonton [via @taylormadegirls]
What about potential vandalism?

Has the city of Edmonton put any thought into the potential vandalism that’ll occur to these $4,000 benches?

Not only are the solar-panels in direct-visibility, which themselves can easily be damaged, but the two charging ports themselves can be damaged in the blink of an eye.

As you’ve probably already figured out by this point, I am personally entirely against these Soofa benches due solely on the cost per unit and the potential vandalism that will occur in due time.

Soofa bench announced in Edmonton [via @iNews880]
Soofa bench announced in Edmonton [via @iNews880]

Dear Edmonton city council:

I’m sorry if these opinions sound a bit inconsiderate or insensitive, but the views found on this website are solely my own, and I truly feel that we’ve paid far too much for these charging benches. Why don’t we ask Edmontonians what they want, instead of making choices such as this one behind closed doors?


Readers, what are your honest thoughts?

Jody Mitoma

Founder of Edmonton Talks News.

17 thoughts on “Edmonton Installs Two Very Expensive Solar-Powered Phone Charging Benches

  • Sid Fayad
    June 9, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    Shitty design, should be in the shape of a patio umbrella, the solar panels on top, provides shade for the people needing to charge their phone, circular bench around the pole and multiple usb charging ports, allows for wayy more people to charge their phone as well as more seating.

  • Kelly Strachan-Pigeon
    June 9, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    $8000 for phone chargers? I can think of better ways the city could have spent that money. Food bank, homeless shelters, fixing potholes, and the list goes on. Pretty sad property taxes go up and then you see the city spending money like this.

  • Andrea Rogoza
    June 9, 2016 at 2:38 PM

    most of us do carry our own back up portable pocket chargers…if you don’t, best buy sells em from 50-120$ and they are awesome

  • Roop Rai
    June 9, 2016 at 3:31 PM

    Who even cares . Everyone carrying phone charger in there cars even in their bags . Pre charged plugs comes too now a days if city isn’t aware of them ….please use our money on better things ..

    • Lincoln Yegventures Ho
      June 9, 2016 at 11:34 PM

      Yeah I checked it out today… And who carries a cord with them without a charger? I left without a charge and went back to my car to charge lol

  • Cody Ryan
    June 9, 2016 at 5:46 PM

    So they are looking at options to improve the city? The benches also monitor air quality and have some other features, which is the main reason. This is not a bad thing.

    • The Talk of Edmonton
      June 9, 2016 at 6:22 PM

      What are these other features you speak of? Also, we have enough ways to monitor air quality. There was no need for another.

  • Ron Barchuk
    June 9, 2016 at 10:22 PM

    $4000 bucks each out of millions… not that big of a deal. Enough people will use them.


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