Islander furious as government-backed firm demands £600 extra to fit car charge point on Bute


A SHOCKED islander was told it would cost him £600 extra to have a car charging point fitted at his home.

Philip Kirkham, from Bute, shelled out £34,000 for a hybrid car, believing the installation of a charge point would be fully funded by the government.

So the 65-year-old was enraged to be told he faced a £600 surcharge because he lives on an island – even though it is only 30 miles as the crow flies from Glasgow and about two hours by car and ferry.

After complaining, Philip, a shop owner, was offered a “goodwill gesture” of cutting the charge to £350.


Philip has been forced to use public charging points, even though he has Lyme disease, diabetes and recently had a new knee fitted.

He bought a brand new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in a bid to become more eco-friendly while travelling around Bute.

The Scottish Government and Energy Saving trust issue grants together worth £1,000 for home charge units and their installation, making them “free” for the vast majority of customers.

Philip’s hybrid car

But Chargemaster, one of the companies approved by the Scottish Government to do the work, told Philip his bill was £1,600 because an electrician would have to get a ferry to the island.

Philip said today: “I asked them, ‘You do know it only costs £40 by ferry?’

“I said I was happy to pay the ferry fare for the electrician to come out but she said no, it will cost you £600 and that was the final say.”

He added: “She didn’t even know the price of the ferry when I told her so I don’t know where they’ve got this figure from.

“I sent them an email asking them to quote me this in writing but they haven’t responded. I think they knew what I was going to do, to show people what they are doing.”

He asked: “Why should I be penalised for living on Bute?

“This type of attitude discourages businesses, discourages the island for people moving to the island and discourages people who are trying their best to go green for the environment.”

Mr Kirkham took to social media to share his experience with the company.

Dozens of furious friends and locals took to the post to leave comments.

Margaret Ross said: “ Absolutely shocking!”

Catrina Baker wrote: “That’s ridiculous. How can they justify that?”

Elizabeth Lawson said: “That’s so annoying! Especially as we’re so close to the mainland.

And Andy Eva wrote: “They should pay YOU six hundred pounds for the pleasure of traveling to Bute.”

A spokesman for Chargemaster today said: “We received an application via our website for a customer on the Isle of Bute, which is an area we do not normally service.

“This is stated very clearly in our terms and conditions on the same website, which states that we service mainland Scotland.

“Despite this, as we always try to serve all EV drivers, we said that we could do this installation, but that the customer would need to cover both the travel costs and the cost of our installation electrician for the days lost, which would equate to a total of two days, including travel.

“Typically, we install two Homecharge units per day, per electrician, so we would only be installing one unit in the time it usually takes us to install four.

“We initially quoted £600, and as a goodwill gesture, we subsequently offered to reduce the cost to £350 – which would mean our business making a loss – and have heard nothing further from the customer.”