NEWS – Pending publication, a decree, which aims to accelerate the deployment of charging stations in condominiums by Enedis, is undermining the activity of start-ups specializing in this field. They fear unfair competition financed in part by the taxpayer.
Despite the right to plug, implemented in 2011, a right which authorizes all residents of condominiums to request the installation, at their expense, of a plug to charge an electric car, the deployment of charging solutions in collective residences drags. A shame, when we know that the use of the electric car is strongly encouraged in large cities. To remedy this situation, the State wishes to move up a gear. A decree, which is expected to be published in the coming weeks, will allow the incumbent electricity operator, Enedis, to include the costs of studies and connection in the electricity transmission tariff (Turpe).
This tariff for using the public electricity network, which for individuals represents approximately 30% of the electricity bill, thus enables Enedis to cover the costs of operating, developing and maintaining the public network.
This decree is strongly challenged by the members of the French Association of charging operators. Created last November, Afor brings together the main private players in electric car charging. It underlines the significant cost for the taxpayer that such a measure would represent. “The decree provides that, in a collective residence, the connection of the horizontal column, which supplies the parking spaces, as opposed to the vertical column which supplies electricity to the apartments, will be the responsibility of all French people”, reproaches Olivier Toggenburger, co-founder of Park’n Plug and member of Afor. Or at least in part. “The decree indicates that, within the framework of the horizontal column, a percentage of the connection costs will be pre-financed by Enedis, which will have the role of installing a Linky meter at each place connected. The user will then have to repay 60% of the connection, the rest being already covered by the Turpe. A cost estimated between 1.5 and 2.4 billion euros, while the solutions offered by private companies do not cost a penny of public money”, specifies Nicolas Banchet, co-founder of ZePlug and also member of the group. And to continue: “We pool the recharge by connecting the places from a single dedicated meter. The connection work is carried out at our expense and we are remunerated through subscriptions, charging management and connected services.” Another grievance of Afor: the decree plans to impose a ceiling price for connections. For the moment, this price has not yet been decided, but the operators fear unfair competition due to prices drawn down in order to seduce cautious condominiums.
Lack of information
Whether the charging solutions are managed by a private operator or by a public actor, it is urgent for the French Electricity Union (UFE) to look into the problem. “85% of top-ups are done at home. With the right to take, France was one of the first European countries to benefit from very favorable regulations for this type of housing, but in reality, it is more complicated”, recalls Mathias Laffont, director use and territories at the UFE “Even if the trustees are more and more aware of this subject, many condominiums have neither the information nor the budgets to start connection work”, notes Mathilde Charmet-Ingold, specialist lawyer in energy law and real estate law. “There are 500,000 condominiums in France, of which 150,000 have parking,” recalls Nicolas Banchet. The cost of the connection to equip 20 to 30% of the parking spaces is estimated, depending on the size of the work, at between 20,000 and 40,000 €, which gives an overall market of between 3 and 6 billion euros.
For small condominiums
“The market is very important,” emphasizes Mathias Laffont. The latter also believes that private players and Enedis are not competitors but complementary. “The needs are so great that there really is room for everyone,” he continues. The co-owner remains free to choose his type of terminal and his electricity supplier. In addition, private players tend to favor the most profitable condominiums.” Namely large units of more than a hundred inhabitants. An observation that Nicolas Banchet does not refute. For him, the State should in particular focus its efforts on condominiums with outdoor car parks, which represent more than half of the collective housing stock and not spend public money on operations that allow private actors to operate. “Generally, these are condominiums of variable size installed in less dense areas, with few means, notes Nicolas Banchet. The installation of the terminals is more expensive here, because it is necessary to plan civil engineering works, operations more expensive than to run cables in an underground car park. Beyond the problems of competition, he especially regrets the unforeseen consequences of such a decree. “Whole projects are frozen, pushed back to next year, because the trustees are waiting for its application,” he laments.
A gigantic market
Should we then be worried about an increase in the electricity bill for all French people? The State is already putting its hand in the pocket to help the condominiums to equip themselves with terminals. “At the start of the year, he created an organization called Logivolt Territoires, a subsidiary of the Caisse des dépôts, which supports in the form of a loan for fifteen years, the costs of studies and connection in condominiums”, presents Mathias Laffont. . Moreover, some private operators work with this organization since one of its missions is to put in contact between condominiums and charging players. Regarding the horizontal column specifically, Mathias Laffont wants to be reassuring. “The main items of expenditure for Enedis are the modernization of the network and the connection of the global network to new energies, he recalls. The deployment of the horizontal columns will be a drop in the bucket.” Especially since some specialists in the subject are skeptical about Enedis’ ability to install all the condominium car parks in France. The market therefore remains very open, with significant growth potential. Six to eight thousand terminals are indeed installed in joint ownership against approximately one hundred thousand in individual housing. –