UK smart charging legislation: What you need to know

by Monta | June 22, 2022

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Things change quickly in the UK, especially when technologies like electric vehicles are involved. We did some digging into EV owners (and those considering purchasing an EV as their next vehicle) and found that unfortunately 44% of those surveyed didn’t feel confident in defining smart charging and when given multiple choice options to help them choose, at least 30% of survey participants didn’t know which was the correct answer.

We’re here to help, if you feel like you don’t get smart charging, you’re not alone, but if you drive an EV or are thinking of getting one it’s important to know how the new legislation will affect you and why you should care.

What is smart charging and why is it important?

On the 30th June 2022 the UK government will be introducing new legislation to regulate charge points installed in the UK. The legislation aims to make smart charging standardised across all charge points and to create consistent charging behaviour which should reduce demand on the grid.

EV Smart Charging refers to a system that enables electric vehicle owners to charge their vehicles more efficiently and cost-effectively. The system uses data from the grid and the EV owner's usage patterns to optimize the charging process. This can have lots of benefits, from reducing the overall cost of charging by charging when energy prices are low, to reducing the carbon impact of a charge by charging when the grid is greenest and cleanest.

What are the legislations

The legislations require that sellers of charge points in the UK should make sure that their devices are able to:

  • Incorporate pre-set, off peak, default charging hours and allow the owner to accept, remove or change these upon first use and subsequently.
  • Allow for a randomised delay function.
  • Provide a measuring system, to measure or calculate the electricity imported or exported and the time the charging lasts, with visibility to the owner of this information.
  • Have safety provisions, preventing the user carrying out an operation which could risk the health or safety of a person.
  • Continue charging even if the charge point ceases to be connected to a communications network.

What this means for the end user is that charging during peak hours will be disabled as a default, so you shouldn’t be able to charge your EV straight away as soon as you get home from work or right away when you wake up. The energy on the grid can be used instead at these times for people making breakfast, or watching TV, or turning on the lights.

The randomised delay feature protects the grid in the event of a power outage or from lots of drivers plugging in to charge to take advantage of a time of use tariff. Both of which could cause a spike or sudden drop in demand and destabilise the grid. By starting the charge randomly (up to 600 seconds after plugging in) we’ll create a more manageable amount of demand on the grid.

By changing our charging habits, we shouldn’t see huge peaks and troughs in the way we use the grid and utility providers should be able to forecast energy consumption more reliably. As we become increasingly reliant on products powered by electricity and batteries, a healthy and reliable grid is incredibly important. In fact, one of the National Grid’s future energy scenarios predicts that to reach our goal of net zero by 2050 we’ll need 80% of households with an EV to smart charge.

Who is responsible for meeting the requirements

The legislation states that ‘sellers’ of new charge points are responsible for making sure that the charge point is compliant. This could mean the installer of the charge point, a wholesaler, a charge point brand, or a reseller. If you buy a new charge point the seller should be able to provide you with a statement of compliance and a technical file so you know your charge point is working correctly.

If you’re the seller, you also need to keep a record of sale for 10 years after the sale and you need to be able to provide those records to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) if they ask.

How does Monta help?

Our platform is designed to make EV charging easier and more intelligent, so we already offer smart charging as an option in our app and we encourage our users to interact with their charging data in our intuitive insights section of the app. From June 30th, we’ll disable peak charging as a default and introduce a randomised delay at the start of each charge via our software for new charge points connected to our platform. We work with over 170+ charge point brands, so if your charge point uses Monta you can be confident that all your charges are smart.

Try out our smart charging feature now by downloading the Monta app. It’s free!

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SmartCharge Preferences Screen

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