On the 18th of September 2023 EVANI sat down in Belfast with representatives from ESB to get an update on the role out of charger upgrades on their network in NI. Below is a statement provided to EVANI that day, so we could update our members. We held off releasing it, having agreed we would receive a clearer and more quantitative update week commencing 25th September. However, this was not forthcoming.
There are a number of “issues” which appear to have further hampered the roll out of the upgrade of the ESB network in NI, these include:
- Unexpected earthing requirements due to the way in which the current ESB charging equipment is connected to the grid here
- Challenges with contract signature of the Levelling up Funding
- General supply chain issues
We are weeks away from the two year anniversary of ESB’s announcement that promised a “complete overhaul and modernisation of Northern Ireland’s entire EV charging network including the expansion of the rapid charging network and the deployment of high-power charging hubs“. But where’s the action?
Meanwhile, just in the last 12 months, other CPOs have installed more than 40 rapid chargers in NI. Remembering that prior to the 26th of April 2023 any other CPO was trying to compete with a free ESB network.
It is EVANI’s view that these continued excuses are unacceptable, ESB are holding up prime charger locations, which could be made available to more dynamic and engaged CPOs, offering a much better service.
During our meeting it was pointed out to the ESB representatives that, there and then, there were at least thirty six chargers in NI greyed out and not operational showing on their app. In RoI there were only two out of a much larger number.
Given the recent tripling of the number of rapid chargers in NI (we appreciate tripling a small number is still a small number), it is hard to continue to think of ESB as the incumbent CPO here any longer. They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, consider the Wattsup map above showing current rapids available in NI.
In summary, over the last six months the message hasn’t changed, everything is to happen “as soon as possible”. We appreciate, at this time, this “update” will not give our Members any comfort, but it was important to share regardless of how disappointing it is.
We will continue to press ESB for updates, and will bring them to the members when they arrive.
ESB update on charger upgrades
“ESB was awarded LUF funding to renew and upgrade the entire existing ESB public charging network in Northern Ireland. Due to complexities in relation to the NI Protocol, the contracts between ESB and the Department of Transport UK was delayed and the contract was subsequently signed at the end of May 2023.
Since then ESB has been busy mobilising the project in relation to procuring equipment, carrying out safety processes at the charge points in line with project governance, design of new connections and applications to NIE Networks, amongst many other deliverables required. Following a recent review of NIE networks earthing requirements, a further device was required by ESB at all charge point construction sites. These devices must be fitted to fulfil safety regulations and were procured over the summer months. ESB is continuing to ensure all safety requirements and relevant documentation are in order to commence the project and are committed to delivering this initiative as soon as possible.”