The report on pages 25 – 34 of the Agenda was presented by Matthew Ford.
Councillor Potter raised concerns on electrocution and asked whether this could happen with the electric charging units. Matthew Ford explained that the infrastructure of the units had been well tested with safety cut off features. The units had been used for many years and that there had been no incidences of electrocution.
Councillor Kerin questioned what benchmarking exercise had taken place and how the Council compared to other similar LAs and neighbouring LAs. Matthew Ford explained that London authorities had over 7,000 electric charging units which had increased over the years; Southend Council had around 10 – 15 units and in the wider Essex, only a handful of units were installed. He went on to say that a higher number of electric charging units were needed in Thurrock as it was a transport hub particularly around Lakeside shopping centre.
Councillor Gerrish asked what the service expected to be delivered within the contract and what the outcome would be in 15 years’ time. Matthew Ford answered that the service looked to achieve steady roll out of electric charging units in all residential, industrial and commercial areas across Thurrock. He referred Members to paragraph 2.8 of the report which showed a breakdown of the contract split over three periods in the 15 years of the contract. He said that the overall cost of the contract would be £9 million and the average cost of the electric charging unit would be about £1,000 to £5,000 depending on where the unit would be installed. He explained that the cost of a unit in one location would be less as it only required the electric cable to be installed and that it was difficult to give a fixed price on one unit as there were other variables involved.
Councillor Gerrish queried if this would be over 600 electric charging units based on £5,000 per unit to which Matthew Ford confirmed it would be around 600 to 700 units and that over the contract life, potentially 1,200 units. Matthew Ford went on to say that as part of the Local Plan process, the service was working with developers to ensure that they were building the necessary infrastructure included with the roads as it would reduce the costs of the electric charging units.
The Chair commented that the electric vehicles and charging units were improving but that the price of the electric vehicles were still expensive and that car manufacturers needed to reduce the costs. Councillor Anderson said that he supported the scheme and that government aimed to phase out combustion engines so it was important for the Council to take a demand led approach. Matthew Ford said that electric vehicle prices were reducing and that there was a government grant for electric vehicles. He said that it was the right time to install more electric charge units as there were not many in Thurrock and the infrastructure was needed.
The Committee is asked to note and comment on the recommendations that will be considered by Cabinet and to:
1) Support the procurement of a single contract over a maximum period 15 years. The initial contract period will be 10 years with an option to extend for one further period of 5 years (10+5);
2) Support the creation of a policy to inform the roll out of the charging infrastructure, based upon a demand led approach for on-street and off-street parking provision and the upgrade/expansion of existing Council assets and in town centre locations and transport hubs;
3) Note the budget and contract value for the full 15 year period to the value of up to £9m based on the following income areas:
a. Allocation of budget on the DfT Integrated Transport Block funding of minimum £75,000 per annum (total allocation over 15 year project life is estimated at being a minimum of £1.125m);
b. Contributions secured pursuant to Section 106 of the T&CPA1990 (based on Local Plan projections for infrastructure improvements), and;
c. Office for Low Emission Vehicle (OLEV) grant funding of up to 75% of the capital costs for installation of EV facilities.
4) Note the approach to delegated authority for awarding contract(s) to the Director of Place in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport.