ESB introduces payments for electric vehicle public charging network

John Byrne, head of ESB ecars
John Byrne, head of ESB ecars

AFTER being able to plug in and charge their electric cars for free for the last decade, drivers will start being charged for the service by ESB from the end of April.

As part of an overall £10 million investment programme to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles, and to support the delivery of net zero emissions, ESB says it will no longer be free to use its EV charging network from April 26.

From then, EV drivers will pay to charge their vehicle with two options available at its 1,350 charge points across the island (including 319 in the north).

One is pay-as-you-go, with prices ranging from 49p to 67p per kWh depending on the size of the vehicle's battery and whether the driver uses fast-charging, rapid charging or high power option.

There is also a membership option designed for drivers who typically use the network more than five times a month.

Regardless of which option a customer choose to use, EV drivers wanting to use the ESB public charging network must firstly sign up via 

ESB has already commenced the next phase of its Northern Ireland upgrade programme with 100 fast (22kW) charger replacements.

John Byrne, head of ESB ecars, 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, and what we're doing is a natural step in ensuring we improve the network and maintain high standards for EV drivers into the future.”

He 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.”

The ESB investment in its network is part-funded by £3.27m from the Levelling Up Fund and includes replacing all existing fast (22kW) and rapid (50kW) EV chargers across Northern Ireland.