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Fraud at charging stations?

Charging stations, regardless of whether they charge quickly or take longer, should not charge more electricity than the consumer receives. But this is far too often the case because many charging stations are not calibrated.

Calibration laws are primarily there to make competition between companies honest and to protect consumers. Only the electricity that has actually flowed into the vehicle should be paid for. Operators who don't keep a clean account even have to pay a fine. So much for the theory. In practice, however, the electricity losses that occur during charging are not correctly accounted for. The only reason for this is that the billing technology is not yet fully developed. In fact, there are currently only four manufacturers whose charging stations charge correctly. Some of the models were only approved by the authorities in summer 2021.

The rest provide inaccurate information. Violations of the calibration law are normally punished with 50,000 euros. However, in view of the sheer mass of incorrectly calculating meters, it was decided pragmatically to waive the fines due to the operators, because it would not be appropriate to shut down the meters. In doing so, they invoke the discretionary powers granted by law. If all non-calibrated charging stations were to be taken out of service at once, the entire charging station infrastructure would collapse. Legal experts agree that this would violate the principle of proportionality, as the public interest would prevail.

So far, consumer protection groups see no reason to take action against the billing practice. However, if the pace of infrastructure conversion slows down, they will demand action against the operators. So the operators have no choice but to convert their old charging stations as quickly as possible so that they comply with the calibration law. The investments run into the millions: Between 500 euros (for slow charging stations) and 6000 euros (for fast charging stations) will be charged to the companies per charging station. Some charging points have to be replaced completely. On top of that, there are the charging points that are already lacking: To cover the demand, 20 times more charging points would be needed than at present. As always, the ones who suffer are us consumers, who have no choice but to accept the fraud.