Electric cars: Electricity provider sees quasi-monopoly on the charging station market

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In many regions of Germany, large providers continue to dominate the charging station market, the electricity provider Lichtblick has determined with the help of the data service provider Statista. In Bremen, for example, 84 percent of the public charging stations would be operated by EWE, in Düsseldorf 78 percent of the charging stations would be operated by the local public utilities and all charging stations on Timmendorfer Strand would be operated by Innogy.

This would result in synergy effects, says Lichtblick in a press release. In addition to the 71 percent EWE share in the charging stations, there is also 13 percent for swb, which is owned by EWE. In Dortmund, 84 percent of all charging stations would be operated by Innogy, which in turn hold almost half at the local network operator.

Lack of competition means that providers could set tariffs and charging conditions largely free from competition, criticized Lichtblick. This often leads to prices for charging electricity well above the household electricity price. The Federal Network Agency has already become active in this matter and is conducting a sector inquiry. Their result could be available this year.

The local monopolists also made charging electricity more expensive for third-party providers. “In some cases, we pay more than twice as much to the charging station operators for the charging processes of our customers than they charge their own customers,” says Markus Adam from Lichtblick. So the monopolists would cross-subsidize their own tariffs.

Although some cities have been tendering areas for public charging stations for some time, local operators could make the best economic offer because of the synergy effects with the local power grid. “Outside players are clearly at a disadvantage compared to sister companies of the network operators,” explains Adam. He therefore proposes a transmission model as it is established in other networks. This means that customers can charge the electricity tariff of their freely chosen provider anywhere.

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The evaluation is based on the charging station register of the Federal Network Agency from April 1, 2021. The list includes 19,589 operators with 35,845 normal charging points and 5906 fast charging points.


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