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    ESB introduces payments at NI's EV charging points

    March 22, 2023 - By Margaret Canning


      ELECTRICITY supplier ESB is introducing pay-as-you-go facilities at its electric vehicle (EV) charging points in Northern Ireland as part of a £10m investment. It said it believed customers were willing to pay for a service which had previously been free if it meant that the network was well maintained.

      ESB said it's upgrading its EV network of around 300 charging points in Northern Ireland, with £3.27m coming from the government's Levelling Up Fund.

      Drivers are now able to sign up for use of ESB's network and from April 26 will be able to charge their vehicle on a pay-asyou-go basis or as members.

      The company said membership, which costs £4.99 a month, was aimed at customers who use the network more than five times a month.

      For members, fast charging costs 46.2p/kWh.

      In contrast, pay-as-you-go customers pay 49p.

      ESB has started its network upgrade with 100 fast charger (22kW) replacements.

      John Byrne, head of EV solutions at ESB, said: "To meet the growing number of EVs on our roads, and support the delivery of clean and affordable energy, we need to ensure we have a reliable, accessible, Northern Ireland-wide public charging network. "Pay for use for public charging is now the norm across GB and Ireland.

      "This is a natural step in ensuring we improve the network and maintain high standards for EV drivers into the future."

      Up until now charging of EVs on the public network in Northern Ireland has been free.

      But ESB said its research showed owners were happy to pay for use if it meant improvements could be made to the network. Mr Byrne added: "In the coming years, as more people will be making the switch to fully electric or hybrid vehicles, it is imperative that we are able to provide drivers with the support they need.

      "This includes the introduction of an overstay fee, widely supported by current drivers, which will help establish an acceptable etiquette for users to follow."

      ESB operates the largest EV charging network on the island of Ireland consisting of more than 1,350 charging points, of which there are 319 in NI.

      In 2021, ESB replaced 30 fast chargers (22kW) and five rapid chargers (50kW) in NI.

      Its £10m investment programme will involve replacing all existing fast and rapid EV chargers across NI.

      Mr Byrne said: "The legacy infrastructure will be replaced with the fastest, most reliable and advanced technology available.

      "The new chargers that EV drivers will see being rolled out have proven to be highly reliable, with a 99% uptime."

      The investment doubles the number of rapid charges and boosts their speed from 50kW to 100kW.

      It will also see the introduction of high-power charging (200kW) in NI through the delivery of five high-power charging hubs.

      ESB said: "These hubs can charge multiple vehicles simultaneously and can provide an EV with 60 miles of range in as little as six minutes."

      'Pay for use is now the norm across GB and Ireland'


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