Louth County Council say there are no immediate plans to install new eCar charging points in Ardee, with ESB’s newly introduced fees for usage aimed at encouraging more home charging of electric vehicles.
Currently, there is a one ‘dual’ charging point in the town, located at the Fair Green on the north side of the town. This allows for the charging of two electric vehicles at any one time.
In 2018, ESB announced plans to charge users at their eCar charging points which had been free since their introduction in 2009. The ESB said the revenue raised would go towards providing a network capable of meeting ambitious targets to end new petrol and diesel vehicle sales from 2030.
The fees were introduced as of August 10 this year and the local authority, while admitting that the point is used regularly, say they are now monitoring the usage of the point in Ardee to see if demand falls.
Independent councillor Jim Tenanty tabled a motion at Thursday’s September meeting of the Ardee Municipal District committee in which he requested additional points be installed at a location or locations in the town.
“They’re getting more popular,” he told the meeting. “I asked that extra ones be installed in the town to facilitate the growing demand for electric vehicles. I’m not happy with the response. Some people can’t charge their cars from home.
He said that the promotion of the use of EVs was included as part of the new County Development Plan, which is in its draft stages. “This is part of the draft plan. There is a policy in relation to electric vehicles. It promotes further installation of charging units for electric cars.
“It’s not the locals we have to facilitate. We have to facilitate people coming to the town who have reached their destination in relation to charging. They’re not going to go to your house. If the facility is not there, they’ll be stuck. I think two is not sufficient for the size and the volume of traffic that passes through the town.
“Some people think there’s only charger there. But it’s dual sided. I think it is a necessity in this day and age that a second station be allocated somewhere in the town,” he added.
Local electric car owners – or those travelling through the town – are heavily dependent on the charging port at the Fair Green. The nearest alternatives at in Carrickmacross and at the Applegreen M1 services at Castlebellingham. There are also eCar charging points in Blackrock, Dundalk and Drogheda.
As part of the new charges brought in by ESB, there are two price plans available for the EV drivers – Pay As You Go or Membership. Pay As You Go is charged at 26.8c per kWh while membership is a €4.60 monthly subscription fee and a reduced charge of 23c per kWh.
Fine Gael councillor Dolores Minogue supported the motion and requested that the parking bay associated with the charging point at the Fair Green be painted on a regular basis to ensure the space is marked for appropriate use.