Lorraine Haskell, Project Lead for the Electric Vehicle Consumer Code (EVCC), discusses how important it is for home chargepoints to be specified, installed and maintained correctly.
As the UK moves towards phasing out the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, maintaining high standards within the industry is of great importance.
Infrastructure is growing rapidly, and all new build homes will soon come EV ready, equipped with chargers. Now is the time to get the home charger installation market right. Not only for consumer confidence in the industry but also to make sure chargers are installed safely and correctly, and overall to provide consumers with a positive experience and encourage wider uptake of EVs.
It is also important that consumers are educated properly about EVs as well as home and public charging, and there needs to be a clear route to redress should anything go wrong.
With the EV Homecharge Scheme coming to an end for owner occupiers next year, what is in store for domestic charger installations and who is making sure that installs adhere to standards? It is apparent from online forums and shared experiences that there are a number of areas that this industry would benefit from having some form of regulation and standards.
- Prices for EV chargers and installations should give good value and be transparent, especially where installations are not straightforward and will require extra work or for the grid to be upgraded.
- Consumers struggle to find information on how to find a decent installer or if they can install a charger themselves, why they shouldn’t just use a 3 pin plug, what charger they should install and how to ensure their installation is safe.
- Where bundles are sold, for example an EV, a chargepoint and an electricity tariff all together, are these good value for money, what are the consumer’s rights if one part does not live up to expectations and can a consumer later switch energy supplier?
- Will existing chargers become redundant as technology develops?
- What warranties and protections should a consumer receive and what happens if their installer goes out of business?
- What can a consumer do in terms of home charging when they rent or do not have off street parking.
- Where can consumers find help with unfamiliar product features and terminology?
The Electric Vehicle Consumer Code (EVCC), has been designed to help suppliers and installers offer high standards so that consumers can have the confidence to install a home charger. It reflects the rigorous consumer protection laws already in force in the UK and adds to these ensuring consumers can be confident about the issues listed above and receive a high quality, safe installation that is fit for purpose.
Consumers have the right to expect that their home charger will perform properly and be fit for their purpose, that services will be performed with due skill and care, and that both goods and services meet the quality standards they would reasonably expect.
- Installers should be qualified to install chargers and comply with specific technical standards.
- Consumers should be protected. This should be done through business insurance, protecting consumers from damage caused by installers, and they should receive deposit and warranty protection, covering consumers should installers cease trading.
- Installers should not mislead a consumer in any way. Marketing claims should be legal, decent and honest.
- Price information should be set out clearly at all times and consumers should not be invoiced for any unsuspected items.
- Installers should carry out a site survey and an assessment of the consumer’s property and the adequacy of the electricity supply in relation to installing a charger, before installation, flagging any issues and associated costs.
- Consumers should be told about their cancellation rights accurately.
- Consumers should be given a timetable as part of their contract, setting out when install should take place.
- Consumers should be able to expect that any complaint be handled in a certain way.
By requiring that installers adhere to EV charger installation standards, it could bring more consistency, confidence and peace of mind and investment to the industry.