GMB calls on Govt and National Grid to pay for cost of installing motorway charging points for battery-powered cars

Re-charging BPVs at motorway service stations - a highway robbery?
Re-charging BPVs at motorway service stations – a highway robbery?

GMB, the energy union, is calling for the government and OFGEM to reassure the public that the costs of setting up charging points for battery-powered vehicles (BPVs) at motorway service stations across the country will not be loaded on to household electricity bills.

National Grid recently said it would support the government bringing forward its 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales by a decade. It has forecast up to 35 million pure electric vehicles will be on the roads by 2050.

The company which runs the UK’s national electricity network and wants to build superfast car charging points at motorway services, told MPs it could cope with the demands of an earlier surge in electric car numbers – but didn’t say who would pay for the new infrastructure.

That scenario sees peak demand from electric vehicles rising by 30 gigawatts – the equivalent of 10 Hinkley Point power stations – adding to a current peak demand of 61-GW.

A separate report last month, National Grid said that gas will be fundamental to any realistic future energy scenario and that it is not feasible to switch over to electric heating on the scale required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent of 1990 levels by the middle of this century.

The report says that a move to electric heating would require a seven fold increase in the capacity of the grid to 290 gigawatts, emphasising the future importance of gas and the need for our own independent gas supply.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said: “What National Grid fails to make clear is that, as OFGEM guidelines stand, it could be household energy bill payers who are hit with the huge costs of installing sufficient BPV charging points into all the country’s motorway service stations – where conventional petrol and diesel is invariably more expensive than non-motorway fuel stations.

“National Grid needs to be straight and stop using its support for an early ban on new petrol and diesel car sales as a Trojan horse for extra taxpayer cash to pay for ‘expensive’ and ‘difficult to co-ordinate’ new charging infrastructure.

“GMB is saying very loudly and very clearly that government and OFGEM should make it clear now that the costs of upgrading the electricity grid to Britain’s motorway service stations with sufficient BPV charging points will not fall on household energy bill payers.”

Meanwhile, the GMB has also called on the government to stop ‘dithering’ and give EDF the assurances it needs to make sure a new nuclear power plant at Sizewell is built.

The state-owned French energy giant has threatened to abandon work on a proposed new nuclear plant in Suffolk unless it receives assurances from the government this year that a viable funding model exists.

Simone Rossi, EDF Energy’s UK chief executive, said that rapid progress was needed on the development of the sister project to its £19.6 billion Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset because promised cost savings would not materialise if there was a significant delay between work on the two.

6 Apr 2018

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