FREE charging is set to end for owners of electric vehicles in the Wee County.

Clackmannanshire Council last week agreed tariffs for EV charging points across its public network with the changes to come into force later this year.

It will ensure day-to-day running costs are covered by users, the move having been consulted on as part of this year's budget.

Fast/AC chargers, 7kW or 22kW, will cost 48p per kWh while rapid/DC chargers will cost 69p per kWh with a minimum spend of £5 for both.

An overstay charge of £12 after the first four hours with a 10 minute grace period for 22kW fast chargers will also be introduced along with a £20 overstay charge after the first 60 minutes for rapid chargers.

A discount of 10 per cent has been agreed for Clacks residents without access to off-street parking and home charging.

Council papers explained the local authority is “looking to align our EV tariffs with our neighbouring authorities”.

However, at the meeting Cllr Craig Holden pressed officers on the claim, having received an email on the issue from trade unions.

He highlighted in Perth and Kinross the charges are 30p per kWh and 35p per kWh for fast and rapid chargers, respectively. In Stirling, tariffs are 25p per kWh and 35p per kWh, while in Fife there is a £1.60 connection fee with electricity charged at 15p per kWh.

The Alloa South independent representative pointed out that the proposed tariffs only align with that of Falkirk Council.

He questioned whether the tariffs were to make charging points attractive for investment.

An officer said the tariffs were predominantly about “full cost recovery” with a position that Clacks would not subsidise electricity in the face of rising energy costs.

The council spent around £178,000 on electricity for public charging points in 2022-23.

However, the local authority also pointed out that to deliver the additional charging points necessary over the next decade, investment will need to come from the private sector and that free or below cost charging is deterring that.

Concerns that the move would deter people from buying electric vehicles were raised by Cllr Bryan Quinn; however, there was general acceptance that most Clacks residents are currently not able to enter the EV market.

The Green representative added he was “not enthusiastic about it” but said that on balance, cost recovery is reasonable.

Cllr Holden suggested the council was “let down” by central government over the issue and suggested it is the government that should subsidise charging, not local authorities, while a funding pot to enable people to charge and home would be cheaper.

Council leader Ellen Forson said she agreed with a lot of what Cllr Holden highlighted and suggested the money would be better invested in the supported bus network for instance.

Cllr Fiona Law, spokesperson for the environment and net zero, pointed out the changes were called for by residents at climate change forums.

She said after the meeting: “Residents brought up the need to introduce charging tariffs, and electric vehicle owners themselves highlighted the need for overstay charges."

There are 29 charging points in the public network in Clacks with a further seven in progress.