Ofgem proposes slash in costs for building electric car charging stations

Ofgem wants to cut costs to encourage the development of more car charging sites.

OFGEM has proposed that large electric car charging sites should not have to pay a connection fee as it tries to encourage a switch to electric driving.

The UK energy regulator said that large new electricity users should no longer have to pay to reinforce their local network.

If a new site needs so much electricity that more capacity is needed in the local grid, the company which runs the site has to pay for upgrades under the current system.

This makes it especially expensive in areas where the grid has low capacity levels, or is already under strain.

"We are proposing to remove connection charges for these network reinforcements, and instead recover these costs through the ongoing network charges paid by all users of the distribution system," Ofgem said.

"This will make it cheaper to install new electric vehicle charging stations in the locations they are needed."

The UK will have to decarbonise most of its transport system if it wants to be able to reach its net zero target by 2050.

According to the Committee on Climate Change, which advises the UK Government, the number of electric vehicles could rise from half a million today to 14 million by 2030.

To support this, a network of charging points will be needed.

Ofgem director of strategy and decarbonisation Neil Kenward said: "Electric vehicles will revolutionise the way we use energy and provide consumers with new opportunities, through smart products, to engage in the energy market to keep their costs as low as possible.

"Our electric vehicle priorities not only provide a way to meet our climate change targets but importantly offer ways to protect consumers from rising bills, through a three-prong approach of increased use of electric vehicles, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid technology which together can help drive down costs for all GB bill payers."

Ofgem also wants to maximise the benefits of "smart charging" - where cars are charged outside of peak electricity use hours.

It wants to support vehicle-to-grid electricity sales, which will use car batteries to sell electricity back into the system when demand is high.

Taken together, these two technologies "could reduce peak demand equivalent to the generation capacity of up to 10 large nuclear power stations", Ofgem said, and would push down bills even for those who do not own electric cars.

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