Brussels only has one staff member overseeing all charging stations
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    Brussels only has one staff member overseeing all charging stations

    There are only 17 charging stations in Brussels, instead of the 100 that were planned by the end of 2019. Credit: Rudi Vervoort/Twitter

    Brussels Mobility, the organisation overseeing mobility plans and strategies in the Brussels Region, only has one staff member responsible for charging stations.

    Due to this lack of personnel, there are only 17 charging stations in Brussels, instead of the 100 that were planned by the end of 2019.

    PitPoint, the company that received an exclusive licence to install the stations from the Region, should have put nearly 100 of them in place by now.

    The Brussels electricity grid, which largely operates on 230 volts instead of the required 400 volts, is a part of the problem, according to the Minister for Mobility, Elke Van Den Brandt, reports RTBF. “As a result, the places proposed by the municipalities after consultation round by the previous minister were not suitable,” she said.

    The procedure of ‘piquetage’, which is indicating the exact location of the charging station, is also part of the problem, according to Van Den Brandt. “This step was not originally included in the contract, but came at the request of Brussels Mobility, to ensure that the charging stations would be positioned correctly in terms of urban planning, and that the marking and signalling afterwards would be easy to carry out,” she added.

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    However, such a positioning requires a visit to the site, organised by Brussels Mobility, together with the municipality, network operator Sibelga and PitPoint.

    “At the moment there is only one member of staff working on the charging station dossier,” said Inge Paemen, the spokesperson for Brussels Mobility, reports Bruzz. “He takes care of the coordination, the administrative follow-up, the site visits, whether it is technically possible to put a charging station there and, if not, what still needs to be done to make it possible,” she added.

    When PitPoint installs a charging station, this one staff member has to make sure that the markings on the road (the green frame with the socket) and the correct signs are put in place afterwards.

    The authorisation of the exact location of the station, given by the municipalities and the Brussels Region, can also take a long time, added Paemen.

    However, Brussels Mobility will install 35 charging stations before the end of the winter season, according to Van Den Brandt.

    When the remaining 48 charging stations will be placed, is not yet clear.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times