Electric vehicle fleet compliance
Regulations governing the ownership and management of electric vehicle charging infrastructure are stringent, and a business's non-compliance can have severe, even irrevocable consequences.
Interest in electric energy continues to power up throughout the UK, charged by both the economic and environmental advantages of transitioning away from fossil-fuel dependency. Many business owners are now strongly considering switching some or even all their existing fleets to electric vehicles (EV).
But having an EV fleet comes with the responsibility of owning the high voltage electrical infrastructure required to charge it, which is governed by regulations that are – to say the least – considerable. The already stringent directives have been even further fortified since the turn of the millennium, and impose severe penalties on businesses that are found to be non-compliant with the rulings.
Regulations such as The Electrical Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (ESQCR), alongside long-term legislation such as the Electricity at Work Act, are particularly severe for power-hungry organisations. Intended to prevent shocks or other harm caused by electrical systems, they firmly stipulate that employers must consider the risks of the design, construction and maintenance of their electrical installations – not just for now, but for the foreseeable future too.
They also include a mandatory requirement for network owners to perform regular testing and maintenance. Those with private networks that are found to be non-compliant with ESQCR can be hit with major fines of up to £10 million; or even find their network taken out of action or removed completely, leaving them without the energy infrastructure to operate. Given that an estimated 80% of private networks are currently thought to be non-compliant with the ESQR, businesses that install electric vehicle fleet charging infrastructure would be wise to ensure they conform with the regulations.
The consequences of suddenly having no workable energy infrastructure for a company would be stark. The impact on logistics and operations could cause millions of pounds in losses, and potentially cripple a business. CEOs or company owners would also be held legally responsible for not adhering to electrical, environmental and safety regulations, and can even face imprisonment if found to be in breach.
It is therefore critical that fleet owners actively demonstrate their Duty of Care for those working near the vicinity of the electrical vehicle charging infrastructure, and ensure that all equipment is being managed properly, safely, within the confines of the above mandates.
Electric vehicle fleet charging infrastructure
The practicalities of managing EV fleet charging infrastructure are highly complex, and create opportunities for potential – sometimes detrimental – pitfalls. Businesses will be required to invest in trained and qualified in-house resources to ensure safe operation; or can outsource operations and maintenance.
But legal responsibility for all compliance and safety will still remain with the business owner, unless they elect to divest the ownership of their electrical assets to an experienced energy partner. For those concerned about the burden of regulations and their associated risks; or lack the required funds, knowledge or expertise to properly manage EV charging infrastructure, Power-as-a-Service (PaaS) offers an outsourcing solution.
Via this proposition, a business can hand over all ownership, operation and compliance of their private wire network to a PaaS provider, such as Vattenfall, and they will shoulder all electrical, environmental and legislative risks – as well as costs for upgrades or repairs to any high voltage electrical infrastructure and equipment.
Vattenfall takes on full responsibility for adherence to the ESQCR, Electricity at Work and other regulations for the duration of the contract, removing a huge source of potential worry, financial penalty and reputational damage, leaving owners, CEOs and workers to focus on their core business.