Council confirms introduction of a fee for charging electric cars

Free car charging on council chargers is set to be a thing of the past.Free car charging on council chargers is set to be a thing of the past.
Free car charging on council chargers is set to be a thing of the past.
A fee is to be introduced to charge electric vehicles across the Borders after the region’s previous no payment policy was labelled ‘a nonsense’.

In 2020 the cost to the local authority of providing free charging was £33, 296.

The council’s electrical vehicle infrastructure consists of 22 chargers across 16 different towns and villages, the majority of which are rapid chargers.

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At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council on Thursday, January 27, members endorsed a new approach of charging 30p per kWh journey with a minimum £1 charge.

Based on the usage figures for 2020 that would create an income in the region of £75,000 a year, resulting in a surplus of around £22,000 a year to contribute towards maintaining the current infrastructure.

Councillor Harry Scott said: “I’ve had discussions about electric charging points with officers dealing with it before and one of the things that came across was there has to be a certain amount of caution before we go down this road because the technology seems to gallop on quite significantly and what we don’t want to be doing is spending £30,000 or £40,000 installing a machine that might be redundant in a year’s time and it’s right the officers keep an eye on this.

“It’s a nonsense that we supply this service for free and there has to be a charging regime in place and the council should benefit commercially from the use of these machines.”

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Councillor Donald Moffat said council fees should be in line with private providers.

He said: “I wonder if our charges should be kept in line with the private ones in the vicinity because it would be a pretty ridiculous situation if our charging was a lot lower than what the private providers were in the same sort of area, because you would have everybody coming and using our stuff and we wouldn’t be getting a fair return, so to speak. We need to keep an eye on what the charges are and make sure we are not losing out.”

It was agreed to give delegated powers to officers and the relevant executive member to adjust the fees in line with changes to electricity pricing.