Detailed background to existing charge levels and energy costs

Further details of EV charges

Comparison with commercial chargepoint operators

Across the country, town centre and edge-of-town Journey chargers are increasingly being provided by commercial operators rather than councils, bringing welcome competition and capacity into the ecosystem. Currently, the only commercial Journey charger operators in East Lothian are:

  • Osprey charging network’s High-power Journey chargers at Haddington Retail Park and at Marston’s Inn, Dunbar, priced at £0.79 per kWh
  • PodPoint charging network’s single 50kW Journey charger at Lidl, Prestonpans, priced at £0.65 per kWh.

Other operators are actively looking to invest in East Lothian and have secured or are seeking planning permission for Journey charging sites as follows:

  • MotorFuel Group’s High-power Journey charger at Old Craighall Services and Fisherrow, Musselburgh, priced at £0.79 per kWh,
  • Ionity High-power Journey charger at Starbucks, Dunbar, priced at £0.74 per kWh.

See here for currently available commercially operated chargers and those expected soon.

For comparison, the RAC estimates that, converted to comparable pence per kWh, rates are £0.60 for petrol and £0.70 for diesel. Our most expensive off-peak rate is still therefore cheaper than diesel and only 5p more expensive than petrol per kWh. Drivers can fill their vehicles for less if they choose to use our On-Street and Destination chargers which offer prices of nearly half that of Petrol and Diesel. The savings drivers can make in their carbon emissions and impact on air quality are also significant.

Timetable for reviewing rates

East Lothian Council reviews its rates continually and although generally domestic electricity prices are expected to decline over the coming year the energy contract prices are fixed each financial year (starting 1 April).

As ELC’s On-Street and Destination rates are already as low as reasonably practicable these rates won’t change before 1 April 2024.

However, if commercial Journey Charger operators active in East Lothian decrease their prices the council may follow suit. However, it must be understood that the revenue generated by Journey Chargers offsets the cost of operating less commercially viable On-Street and Destination chargers at rates close to domestic energy prices.

About our energy costs

Our costs are based on a mix of energy and non-energy elements.

Energy-related bills include the per kWh energy price which now significantly exceeds our previous lowest tariff rate of £0.25, plus the following additional elements:

  • Per kWh Climate Change Levy
  • Annual Standing Charges
  • Annual Site Fees
  • Annual Metering Charges
  • Monthly Meter Operator Charges
  • Transmission Network Operator Charges
  • Distribution Network Operator Chargers
  • Capacity Charges for our c. 250kVA connection at Wallyford Park and Choose that supplies our Up to 150kW High-power Journey chargers
  • VAT at 20%

 In addition, non-energy related bills include:

  • Planned maintenance costs as our chargers age and exceed their initially grant funded capitalised cover (typically 3-5 years)
  • Non-warranty reactive maintenance costs such as accidental damage and vandalism
  • Replacement of chargers at the end of their useful lives (expected to be 8-10 years)
  • SIM cards
  • Fees we pay our eMSPs such as Fuuse, ChargeLight,, Connected Kerb, ChargePlace Scotland to cover first line customer service and handling payments

External funding situation

In the past East Lothian Council has secured grant funding from Transport Scotland and OZEV to purchase chargers. This grant funding often allowed the council to capitalise and re-claim the cost of warranty and maintenance agreements for typically between 3 and 5 years. Many of these chargers are now exiting these warranty and maintenance cover and the cost of maintaining them is significant.

The council is currently transitioning from being solely reliant on such grants and revenue generated from chargers to fund its network and are exploring more sustainable alternative business models, including working with commercial partners to fund, operate and maintain On-Street and Destination chargers. For more info see here.

While the council is expected to work in partnership with commercial operators in time there will likely be a period whereby it’s needed to self-fund these costs until it is commercially viable enough for commercial operators to be attracted to working with ELC to provide a similar level of service that emphasises social equity and behaviour change towards active travel and public transport, all without locking the council into restrictive and lengthy contracts.

Published: Wednesday, 7th June 2023