Stories

Choose Your Charge Point Installer With Care

The actual process of choosing and taking delivery of a new electric vehicle is relatively simple and easy...the problem comes, it seems for some owners, when they try to arrange to have a home charge unit fitted to their homes. Obviously, this saves having to find a public charging point but numerous EV owners have faced delays and frustration in this area.

OK, charging your car batteries using a three-pin plug, by what is known as a ‘granny cable’ supplied with most if not all EVs,  is possible and allowable but it’s not advised as a permanent means of doing so.

Electric vehicles should be home charged through a dedicated wall box – this is the highly recommended solution.

On collecting our new MG ZS, in early July, all our details were sent immediately by the dealership (Arnold Clarke) – direct to the installers recommended by Motability, through whom we acquired the car.

Within a few days we received word that the installation company would contact us to arrange for the installation process to begin. Weeks went by and despite repeated reminders from us and Motability HQ, nothing happened.

Eventually the charge point installers got in touch, saying that we had to send photographs both confirming the installation of our recently fitted Smart Meter and of where on our property, the home charger could be fitted!

Two weeks later, we receive a further email from the installers insisting that, before their engineer could fit the unit, an ‘isolation switch’  would also have to be fitted to the house mains circuit …. this being for (understandably) safety reasons. Why did they not think to tell us this in their first email?

We had been in touch with our domestic electricity supplier who (thankfully) agreed to fit the isolation switch at the same time as the Smart Meter. Having a SM allowed us access to their cheap overnight electricity tariff which reduced our unit charge from 18p/kw to 5p between the hours of 12.30 am until 4.00 am. The isolation switch was easily arranged and duly fitted, promptly and efficiently.

Initially we were told by our charge point installer that delays could be expected because of the ‘Covid pandemic’ – an excuse that’s been used by almost everyone for delays of any kind. 

It was now early October and still no home charger – and despite more phone calls and emails and a promised call back within 48 hours, nothing! 

Eventually, after some 12 weeks, I did manage to speak to someone at their call handling centre who, apologetically explained why there had been no further action on our installation request…it transpired that the person who had been dealing our application had “moved jobs” and my application had “slipped out of their system”!!

Now (at long last and after almost losing the will to live) a date has been fixed for the home charge point to be fitted which, if it actually goes ahead, will have taken almost FOUR months.

Surely if the Scottish government et al are so keen to have us all driving electric cars then they might be advised take closer interest in the after-market service infrastructure and support that’s available to those of us who have bothered to heed the call?