Politicians charge electric cars at Leinster House for less than half the price the public pays

TDs and senators can charge their electric cars at Leinster House for less than half what regular consumers would after initially getting the service for free, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The service for politicians with electric vehicles was trial free in 2019 and 2020.

While charging now, bills show the cost is 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, while ESB prepaid prices start at 37.5 cents – more than double that.

It means elected officials, including the Deputy Secretary for Road Transport, drove around for 40 per cent the cost of someone who needed to charge their battery at Merrion Square, across the road from Leinster House.

The electric vehicle charging station in Oireachtas was installed to “show leadership” after ex-Senator and Health Secretary James Reilly and others urged Parliament to be proactive.

The Oireachtas said cheap rates are now in place for elected members because the campus was “on a very large meter.”

But there are plans for future e-charging provided by the ESB and for TDs and Senators to pay commercial rates using a credit or debit card.

Data released to the Irish Independent Demand for Electrocharge by TDs and Senators at Leinster House has doubled over the course of a year following a freedom of information request.

27 users have been issued identification cards, but the Oireachtas has refused to identify anyone. There is also no information on the make and model of the cars using the facilities.

“These records do not exist,” an official said.

Seven members refused to use the charging points until they were billed.

One number has been in touch to request an invoice and one member has written to the Oireachtas “several times” asking for a charge.

A source said: “In the beginning it was a trial and nobody was charged.”

Last year’s electricity bills were issued using these rates last May. Further invoices were sent out in June for this year’s billing to date.

In a statement, the Oireachtas said: “The Facility Management Unit (FMU) issued invoices to all EV charging station users earlier this year for electricity consumed in 2021 and the first three months of 2022.

“Invoices for the second quarter will be issued shortly and quarterly thereafter.”

The heaviest single Oireachtas user put 1,156.42 kWh in their electric vehicle in the past year. Your last bill will have been €208.15.

However, if they had paid for ESB’s prepaid fast charging tariff of 43.2c, they would have had a bill of 499.57 euros, almost two and a half times as much.

In 2020, during Covid, just over 7,000kWh of electricity was loaded into the electric vehicles of TDs and Senators, at a reduced upfront price for the Oireachtas of €1,260.33.

Last year, consumption doubled to 14,304.38 kWh at a reduced special price of €2,574.82.

One user, Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín, who drives a 2019 Hyundai Kona said: “The addition of the car charging facilities at Leinster House is a good thing.

“It’s something that should be done in workplaces across the country.

“I bought a used electric car that year and twice was very happy that there was a charging station at Leinster House.

“But I find it incredible that TDs got electricity for free until just a few weeks ago, and it’s still not right that TDs get a discount below what other citizens have to pay at ESB charging stations.

“That L’Oreal instinct that a lot of the TDs have that ‘we’re kind of worth it’ needs to go.

“These subsidies are unfair, especially when you consider that a TD’s wage is more than double the average industry wage.”

Minister of State for Road Transport Hildegarde Naughton said she owned a Kia Niro 2 plug-in hybrid.

“I use it at Leinster House when needed. I think it is helpful to support and motivate drivers to switch to less polluting vehicles, which includes measures such as free charging or subsidies for the purchase of vehicles and the installation of charging points.

“However, given the fuel and emissions savings that come from using my hybrid vehicle, I’m happy to pay the commercial fee.”

Other politicians who have hybrids, including James Browne and Mark Ward, said they never used the service.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politicians-charge-electric-cars-at-leinster-house-for-less-than-half-the-price-public-are-paying-41940709.html Politicians charge electric cars at Leinster House for less than half the price the public pays

Fry Electronics Team

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