TARIFF rates for charging electric vehicles in the region have been put forward by Scottish Borders Council (SBC).

Elected members of the local authority are expected to back the proposals at a meeting on Thursday (January 27).

Electric vehicle drivers had been able to charge for free due to Transport Scotland funding aimed at encouraging uptake of environmentally-friendly cars.

According to SBC papers, rates at 30p per kWh for ‘journey (rapid)’ charge points and 16p per kWh for ‘all other (destination)’ charge points are being proposed.

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The report states: “There is currently no dedicated SBC revenue or capital budget allocated to EV infrastructure and any repairs that need to be carried out require to be assessed and funded along with other competing priorities from the ‘street lighting’ budget. Over the last two years £9,509.28 has been spent repairing chargers that were faulty. This is projected to increase as chargers progress further into their service life.”

The report continues: “The proposal differentiates between ‘journey’ and ‘destination’ chargers due to journey chargers being significantly more expensive to purchase and maintain while also aligning closely with neighbouring authorities to provide a level of continuity.

“The proposed pricing structure will encourage people who have the ability to charge at home to do so while also helping to ease pressure on the public charging network.

“It will also help to create an environment that encourages commercial operators to invest in the installation of charging infrastructure within the Scottish Borders.

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“Based on usage figures for 2020 this gives a potential income in the region of £75,000 a year, creating a surplus of around £22,000 a year to contribute towards maintaining the current infrastructure.

“This excludes overstay charges which would also generate additional surplus and would also allow scope to absorb any small increases in energy prices without the need to constantly alter the tariff.”

Journey chargers can supply up to 43kW alternating current and up to 50kW direct current, can provide a full charge in around 30 minutes and are typically used to aid onward travel.

Meanwhile, destination chargers vary in charging time depending on the size of the charger, 3.7kW units are used for overnight charging and 7.4kW units typically take six to eight hours to fully charge a vehicle.

If approved, SBC’s regime will see the introduction of an overstay charge, a minimum charge of £1 per session and a 50p connection surcharge between 4pm-7pm to ease demand on the electricity grid at peak times.

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SBC’s plans fall in line with schemes currently in place in East Lothian and Midlothian.

In Dumfries & Galloway it costs 25p per kWh for all chargers, with a £1.50 minimum charge.

SBC currently has 22 chargers across 16 different towns and villages, of which the majority are rapid.

Gordon Edgar – executive member for infrastructure, travel and transport – told a November meeting that the total cost to the council for the charging points last year was £33,296.

A feasibility study has been commissioned to undertake a “region-wide, cross-sector assessment of supply, demand and commercial opportunities to create a strategic delivery model for EV charging infrastructure”.

The work is expected to finish in 2022.