In the future years, the number of electric vehicles and charging stations in our country is predicted to dramatically expand. Some additional adjustments to expand electric car usage were made with Law on Amending Certain Laws, which eventually amended Electricity Market Law No. 6446 on 21 December 2021, as a reflection of the goal of mitigating global warming and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This Law was published in the Official Gazette on 25 December 2021 and became effective on the same date.
In the future years, the number of electric vehicles and charging stations in our country is predicted to dramatically expand. The goal of this new legislation was to create a free market for charging stations for electric vehicles. This regulation also covers the regulatory process and inspection methods for electric vehicle charging services, as well as the principles of market activity and functioning, market actors, and the Energy Market Regulatory Authority's ("EMRA") responsibilities. Another important reason for the creation of this new rule was to protect the rights of electric car users.
With the amendment, article 3 of Law No. 6446, titled "Definitions and abbreviations", now includes "interoperability", "electric vehicle", "loyalty agreement", "certificate", "charge network", "charging network operator", "charging station", "charging station operator" and "free access platform" and by adding these new definitions, the terms under the title of "charging service" have been clarified.
In this context; "interoperability" refers to the interactive, harmonious, and effective interoperability of charging stations, electricity transmission and distribution networks, and the software systems that support them which operate independently or connected to the charging network. "Electric Vehicle" is defined as "a motorized road vehicle that uses an electric motor alone or as a supplement for its movement and can be charged externally with electric energy. "Charging Service" is defined as a wired or wireless energy transfer, which is carried out for commercial purposes to fill the batteries, capacitors, and similar energy-storing equipment of electric vehicles. It can be stated that electricity will not be sold to electric vehicles at electric charging stations, but a charging service will be provided to these vehicles to charge them.
A "Charging Network" is a system that is designed to provide charging services to electric vehicles at many charging stations and is administered by a charging network operator. The "Charging Network Operator" is a licensed legal organization that provides charging service to electric vehicle users by opening access to the charging network and operating the charging network.
Furthermore, the "Charging Station Operator" is the person that manages the on-site charging stations and provides charging services to third parties within the parameters of the charging network operator's certificate. The certificate could grant the charging station operator the authorization to manage one or more charging stations within a charging network on the charging network operator's behalf. The charge network operator can issue the certificate to a natural or legal person by following the procedures and rules established by the authorities.
Charging Service Supply Chain
The charging service will be an activity subject to a license, and the charging network operator license will be carried out by Law No. 6446 and the rules issued in accordance with this Law, with the exceptions defined by the EMRA for non-commercial uses.
The "Charging Network," which will be built to provide charging services to electric vehicles at multiple charging stations, will be controlled by the charging network operator, and the charging service will be performed at the charging stations by actual and legal persons.
The primary responsibility for the provision of the charging service will be on the charging network operator license older. The charging network operator's obligations and responsibilities originating from Law No. 6446 and other legislation will not be eliminated by granting the charging station operator the authorization to provide charging service with a certificate. As a result, the charging network operator and the charging station operator will be jointly and severally liable for the charging service operations.
On the other hand, for the charging network operator license, EMRA has the right to make changes at license terms, license period, license amendment, and price. It also has the authority to decide which issues should be covered by the license, as well as what obligations and rights the license will grant and to what extent those rights will be restricted. EMRA may also impose particular requirements, regarding the issuance of the license and the execution of the licensing activity, numerical limitations, commercial and technical obligations, including the obligation to establish a station, taking into account the prevalence of charging stations. In cases where the Authority imposes an obligation to establish a charging station, procurement of real estate related to the charging service activities subject to the licenses of private legal entities holding a charging network operator will also be carried out by the Authority.
Rights and Obligations of the Charging Network Operator
According to the new regulation, the charging network operator shall have the right and authority;
- to establish or operate a charging station connected to the charging network in the region or throughout the country specified in its license,
- to establish or operate a charging station within the extent of the certificates issued,
- to make loyalty agreements with electric vehicle users.
It is especially important to emphasize the "Loyalty Agreement" that charging network operators can sign with electric vehicle users. With the said contracts, it will be possible for the electric vehicle user to obtain the charging service with certain advantages.
The new regulations also impose the following obligations on charging network operators:
- To act in compliance with Law No. 6446, as well as other relevant legislation, rules, and regulations issued by EMRA.
- To provide continuous, uninterrupted, and high-quality charging service at charging stations connected to its charging network, except in the event of exceptions or force majeure,
- To make charging service accessible to all electric vehicles,
- To establish, declare, and implement the charging service price and access conditions for electric vehicles in accordance with the procedures and principles to be publicized by EMRA.
- To set up the essential charging station administration, control, and registration systems.
A restriction was imposed on charging network operator license holders, stating that they would only be subject to Article 16 of Law No. 6446. The rights and obligations relating licenses provided in other sections of the Law will not apply to charging network operator license holders. For those who operate in violation of Article 16 of Law No. 6446 and secondary legislation, EMRA will take action in accordance with Article 16.
Determination of Charging Service Price
The charging service price is established in Additional Article 5/3 of Law No. 6446, and the service price will be determined freely within the procedures and principles prepared by EMRA. However, in the new legislation it is specified what factors should be taken into account when determining the prices in question. Accordingly:
- It is essential that the price of the charging service is not distorting or restricting competition or distorting or disrupting the provision of charging service.
- Investment and operating costs for establishing a charging station and establishing a charging network, electrical energy purchase costs, and similar costs, legal obligations such as taxes, shares, funds, and profitability will be taken into account to a reasonable extent when determining the price.
- The determined charging service price will be publicized at the charging stations and digital channels by the charging network operator license holders.
In addition, EMRA has been given the authority to intervene in the pricing process if necessary. Accordingly, EMRA has the authority to set the floor and ceiling prices at the regional or national level for a period of not more than three months at a time at every stage of the activities, if agreements or actions, which aim at preventing, disrupting or restricting the activities regulated within the scope of the charging service, or the competition or which have or may cause this effect, create distorting effects on the charging services. Furthermore, EMRA might apply minimum and maximum limits regarding the prices applied within the scope of charging service based on the evaluation of the aforementioned effects.
Free Access Platform
In the new regulation, it is also envisaged to establish a free access platform to ease the access to the information for electric vehicle users. "Free access platform" is defined as "the platform that is prepared by the authority for real-time viewing of all existing charging stations, providing live data of charging stations, exchanging data, and other operations that are provided by an interface".
Through this platform, users will be able to see the locations of charging stations, the types of units in the charging stations, and the prices of charging services. In this way, users will be able to get information about the availability of charging stations and make a charging reservation in advance.
As a result,
Through this legislation for electric vehicle charging services, the legislative infrastructure for this issue has been formed. The secondary legislation regarding the provisions added to Law No. 6446 which regulate charging services will be issued by EMRA until 25 March 2022. Individuals who are currently engaged in charging service activities will be obliged to comply with the new legislation within four months of the effective date of the secondary legislation. The implementation details on this issue will be clarified with the secondary regulations that will be issued.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.