National policy for charging of electric vehicles, lower rates for off-peak hours launched

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August, 2021 at 2:03 pm by Andre Camilleri

The infrastructure for electric vehicle charging as well as new power tariffs for off peak hours were launched today by Minister for Energy and Sustainability Miriam Dalli together with representatives from Enemalta.

Enemalta CEO Engineer Jason Vella said that the national policy forms part of the “conscious responsibility we have as a country to safeguard the future of our environment and our health.”

Malta plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. “This is one step towards that direction”, Vella said.

To achieve this, Vella explained that Enemalta will be taking a first step by introducing tariff schemes for electric vehicle charging. “In the coming years, all new vehicles will be electric, therefore we have to anticipate the constantly growing market with new schemes and tariffs to promote the growth and reach our targets,” Vella said.

“Through these new tariffs, it will become more financially viable to own an electrical car rather than a conventional fuel powered car […] the new tariff scheme was deduced through a pilot project study which consisted of 200 private electric vehicle owners.”

Vella announced that the new tariff scheme means that during the off peak hours, reduced prices for electrical consumption would be in place. The off peak hours are between midnight and 6am, between noon and 4pm and Sunday all day, Vella explained.

The off peak hours result in an even distribution of the electrical supply from Enemalta. “Needless to say the distribution and electrical supply networks would be improved in order to accommodate for the increased electrical demand,” Vella said.

Engineer Marjon Abela then explained the financial aspect of the national policy. Abela explained that there are two categories for the new tariff scheme. The categories are residential and non-residential such as public spaces.

Abela explained that during the off peak hours, every unit of electricity consumed will cost the owner of an electric car 12.98 cents. This rate is significantly lower than the normal fee during peak hours. The rate during the peak hours is determined according to the band the residential entity is registered to.

“During a normal week, there are 84 off peak hours available for charging. Normally a car is charged 20 to 40 hours per week so 84 hours are more than enough to accommodate charging needs,” Abela said.

With regards to non-residential charging, the off peak hours remain at the cost of 12.98 cents per unit while the peak hours charging rate rises to 14.85 cents per unit consumed.

Engineer Abigail Cutajar who is a policy advisor for the electrification of cars in Malta announced that there will also be an increase in charging pillars across Malta and Gozo. She said that “this is due to a number of reasons such as the electrification of the government fleet, electrification of public transport, national green paper and the increase of privately owned electric vehicles.”

The government is looking into different forms of charging. These are en-route charging, destination charging, home charging and public charging. The most popular forms of charging are home charging and public charging, together they make up for 90% of the different modes of charging

Given that home charging accounts for 60% of the charging methods, the main aim for the government for now is home charging. “This however does not mean that public charging stations are not being considered,” Cutajar said.

The national policy focuses on the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and plug in hybrid, abiding by guidelines set by the European alternative fuels directive and providing guides for charging service providers.

Minister Miriam Dalli closed off the press conference by stating that “this is the change we need and this change needs the contribution of multiple organisations and stake holders.”

“Change is happening and we can even see it happening locally. In Malta we have more then 480,000 vehicles, 2,807 of these vehicles are fully electric vehicles while a further 1,162 are plug in hybrids […] although we have almost 4,000 cars which are contributing to carbon neutrality, we have a lot more to do,” Dalli said.

Dalli said that although the market is still in its infancy, “a strong foundation is needed to promote the growth in the market and mould it into a sustainable sector.”

In her closing statement Dalli said that “Malta has the lowest rate within the European. When compared to countries like Norway, Germany and Poland, their rates are 18 cents, 31.5 cents and 36 cents respectively.”

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