“Why has this charger not worked for the last month!” is a question we get asked.
“It’s all ChargePlace Scotland’s fault” is also something we get said to us.
However, we do not own any charge points, nor do we repair, maintain nor service them.
The ChargePlace Scotland (CPS) network is very complex being made up of 2,100 chargers, owned by over 350 different charge point owners.
All 32 Scottish local authorities have chargers, as do 320 businesses, from the Scottish Borders to the islands, with the most northerly chargers on Unst.
To be included on the ChargePlace Scotland network chargers must have been publicly funded. Ownership of the chargers rests with the organisation that applied for and received the funding.
Our job, at ChargePlace Scotland is to notify the owner of the charge point and their nominated maintainer of any performance problem with a charge point. We then notify Transport Scotland if the unit has not been initially investigated by a certified maintainer, within 48 hours of the initial report. The reality is that we are very often the first one to know that a charger is not working properly, due to our Charge Place Scotland back office system. We also take calls, emails and online fault reports making sure that all faults and service interruptions are dealt with speedily.
So, to be clear, ChargePlace Scotland do NOT own any charging infrastructure and have no responsibility for the servicing, maintenance or repair of chargers.
Our role is to provide the system that connects the chargers, into a network and to take care of customer interactions, from billing through to provision of support when charging.
We collate fault information provided by drivers, and our own systems, and pass rapidly to charge point owners and maintenance providers for speedy investigation and resolution.
We have two key performance indicator targets to achieve regarding faults:-
- To ensure the owner/ maintainer is notified of a charge point fault by the most appropriate form of communication within 30 minutes of fault being reported. The website and app map to be updated to reflect live status, within 30 minutes.
2. All fault tickets, open for longer than 48 hours to be flagged for escalation to owners and reported to Transport Scotland.
Since the end of July, the average time taken to resolve a fault and get the unit back online is a little under twenty hours.
Of course, there may be practical reasons why the charge point owner has a unit offline, such as for line painting, or because the site has another function i.e. match day at Falkirk Stadium.
Having said that, a few have longer term issues that leave them offline for an extended period. So, what causes delays in getting those chargers back online?
The reasons are many and various but fall into a couple of main categories; either power issues, mobile communication issues or parts required that have either a long lead time or take time to get through the charge point owners ordering and procurement processes.
Power issues are obviously significant and something outside of ChargePlace Scotland’s control. This can also fall outwith the owners control, however they will then work through their maintainers directly with energy companies to return power to a site, but this may require extensive civil work and supply upgrades.
The other challenge can be the procurement of parts. To order a new part may require:-
- the maintainer to send a quote
- the quote to be reviewed
- the expenditure to be authorised by the charge point owner
- authorisation to be sent back to the maintainer
- the part ordered
- part received by the maintainer
- an engineer sent to site to fit part and get charge point working
It is not always the case that this takes weeks, but it can do, and in the meantime the charger is not online and available.
ChargePlace Scotland is a national collaboration, to provide the very best experience for drivers. It is a partnership of Transport Scotland, ChargePlace Scotland, power companies, Charge Point owners, their maintenance suppliers, and drivers. We will continue to play our part in keeping the network operating efficiently and drivers moving.