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CMA says that there should be a minimum of two chargepoint operators at each MSA that receives the rapid charging funding

The UK’s competition watchdog says measures are needed to ensure more consumer choice at motorway service areas that receive government funding to establish electric vehicle rapid-charging stations.
In its 29 February response to the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles’ (OZEV) consultation on the rapid charging fund (RCF), the Competition and Markets Authority urges a ban on future exclusivity agreements. It says such long-term arrangements between a chargepoint provider and motorway services area (MSA) can weaken competition.
It backs OZEV’s suggestion that there should be a minimum of two chargepoint operators at each MSA that receives the funding. “Greater competition at MSA sites will help deliver more choice, better reliability, lower prices and continued innovation for drivers,” says the CMA. It adds that many MSA sites will have capacity for more than two providers “and we strongly favour this capacity being used where appropriate, to offer more choice for drivers”.
It goes on to say that, even for MSAs that are not getting RCF money, there is a “strong case” for a minimum of two chargepoint providers on each site.
In a further recommendation, the CMA says chargepoints should be interoperable or “open access”, rather than only available to one brand of EV, something OZEV has proposed.
It also agrees with OZEV that open tendering should be introduced for access to network capacity for any MSA applying for RCF funding.
The CMA highlights that a possible conflict could arise when an MSA wants to operate its own chargepoints, but is also tendering access to network capacity for other providers. It recommends introducing conditions to make sure that some chargepoint firms are not advantaged over others in terms of where their stations are located, for instance. MSAs should treat all operators on a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis”, it says.
In 2021, a CMA market study into electric vehicle charging found a lack of competition in en-route charging, especially on motorways. It said at the time that, in return for funding, OZEV attach conditions to ensure greater competition at motorway services.