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London Councils weighs up case for managing EV charging

ELECTRC VEHICLES

Andrew Forster
28 September 2018
 

London Councils’ transport and environment committee (TEC) is seeking approval from the capital’s 33 boroughs for a change to its governing agreement that would allow it to manage an electric vehicle (EV) charging point network for the capital. 

The idea would see TEC set up a delivery partnership for EV charging points that would operate alongside existing commercial networks such as Source London and POLAR. 

The partnership would likely cover public charge points owned by local authorities, rather than charge points owned and managed by private companies or land owners. 

London Councils told LTT this week: “Some initial work  looking at the costs of a delivery partnership has been undertaken, however there is no agreed funding to cover these costs.

“The uncertainty of revenue funding makes some aspects of the proposed delivery partnership uncertain. However, the TEC governing agreement changes will allow for London Councils to be involved in an enhanced delivery partnership should funding be secured in future.”

In order for TEC to take on the function, all 33 boroughs must approve a change to the committee’s governing agreement. Nine have already done so.

The spokesman said a delivery partnership could provide “centralised support to boroughs on requirements such as contract management and a single customer interface”. 

“There are a number of different models of how a delivery partnership could work. This includes in-house or outsource options, and could include existing charge points or new charge points.”

London Councils’ immediate focus is on supporting boroughs with the installation of charge points using the existing Go Ultra Low Cities Scheme (GULCS) funding and the new EV charging point framework that has eight suppliers (LTT 31 Aug). 

Boroughs have been awarded £3.7m from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles’ GULCS so far. They can choose to procure charge points via the framework or their own procurement. 

The London Borough of Islington considered the change to London Councils’ governing agreement this month. Borough transport planner Andrew Moore  told councillors: “The design, procurement, maintenance and customer management of electric vehicle charging points is becoming an increasingly complicated and specialised task that would benefit from more centralised planning and consistency across London. 

“Given that the demand for electric vehicle charging infrastructure is set to continue in the foreseeable future, it is considered that there could be benefits to both Islington council and Greater London as a whole if there was one single organisation representing individual boroughs with responsibilities for public electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”

He said the partnership might:

• provide and manage all installations and maintenance 

• provide a single point of contact for ULEV owners and operators 

• agree a design specification with councils and ensure installations meet those standards 

• develop a funding model that in the long-term funds the installation of charging infrastructure without the need for public subsidy 

• manage a membership system and bookings

• manage back office functions 

If TEC does chose to proceed with the plan, boroughs will be able to choose whether to opt-in.  

“London Councils have estimated that their delivery partnership could cumulatively save London’s local authorities up to £30m over a ten-year period through scale of economy and efficiency gains,” he added. 

Although welcoming the partnership idea, Moore said Islington had “some reservations about the likelihood of the delivery partnership being successfully established”.  “This concern is due to uncertain funding models, the delays that have already occurred to the GULCS project [in London] and the recent announcement of a mayoral taskforce into electric vehicle infrastructure, which is due to publish a delivery plan in 2019 with recommendations around how, when and where to increase London’s electric vehicle infrastructure up until 2025.” 

 
 
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