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Plug socket etiquette

  • 20-10-2020 10:47am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,387 ✭✭✭ redcup342


    Wondering what you think.

    If there are plug sockets placed over parking spaces in an Underground car park and the car park is not attended so there is nobody to ask would you use it to charge with your travel charger ?

    Just asking as I've heard half and half, in France people say if the plug socket is there it's Fair game. In Germany and Austria is considered stealing :)

    Whats your opinion ?


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Comments

  • Moderators Posts: 11,979 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    Depends for me.
    If it's my apartments underground car park i'd use it until I could get a unit installed, but I wouldn't be thinking "wohoo, free charging for life". If management slow things down or say no, then i've no sympathy, juice up.
    If it was just a random car park I wouldn't "freeload", but if I needed it I would plug in (like if there was one in IKEA I totally would).

    Closest scenario I have is my in laws house. 80km away, so 160km round trip. The Ioniq will do that no bother in summer, but with a bit of driving around their locale it gets tighter, so I plug in overnight.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,907 ✭✭✭✭ ELM327


    If there's an available socket in a public area I plug in.
    If you provide public access to the socket and it's powered up, you should have access controlled by a switch or a payment method.
    I have a charger in my parking spot which is accessible to the public.
    A leaf tried to plug in a while ago when I was between EVs. I laughed at them from my window as I have "2FA" access controlled. The power needs to be switched on from the fuseboard (behind the door, so key needed) and also the charger has a key controlled on off switch.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,834 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin


    Personally I'd try to ask, if it's a hotel or guest house or similar. For example I was thinking of travelling to France and renting a mobile home. I checked with the holiday company first if they were okay and once I explained that it wasn't drawing more power than a hairdryer they were fine.

    Having said that, if I was desperate then I might just plug in. Especially if it's an apartment complex where the management company is typically uncontactable and just says no to everything anyway

    I did hear one story on EV Man where someone came home to find a note in their letterbox saying that a passing EV driver had been desperate for a charge and had plugged in for 30 mins. If they hadn't left the note it's likely the guy would never have noticed. They even left a fiver to pay for the electricity, probably 100x what it was worth.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,834 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin


    ELM327 wrote: »
    If there's an available socket in a public area I plug in.
    If you provide public access to the socket and it's powered up, you should have access controlled by a switch or a payment method.
    I have a charger in my parking spot which is accessible to the public.
    A leaf tried to plug in a while ago when I was between EVs. I laughed at them from my window as I have "2FA" access controlled. The power needs to be switched on from the fuseboard (behind the door, so key needed) and also the charger has a key controlled on off switch.


    Did they think it was a public charger or were they just stuck for a charge.


    Most importantly, what unit rate did you negotiate, €1/kWh? ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,907 ✭✭✭✭ ELM327


    Did they think it was a public charger or were they just stuck for a charge.


    Most importantly, what unit rate did you negotiate, €1/kWh? ;)
    I'd say they thought it was publicly available


    I didnt talk to them, it was funnier to watch!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,834 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin


    redcup342 wrote: »
    Just asking as I've heard half and half, in France people say if the plug socket is there it's Fair game. In Germany and Austria is considered stealing :)


    Only in Germany would stealing €2 worth of electricity be considered a major crime :rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,561 ✭✭✭ BENDYBINN


    ELM327 wrote: »
    I'd say they thought it was publicly available


    I didnt talk to them, it was funnier to watch!

    Good man!.....laughing at other people’s misfortune
    Could at least offered to help.....you’ll be stuck someday too!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,387 ✭✭✭ redcup342


    Only in Germany would stealing €2 worth of electricity be considered a major crime :rolleyes:

    Lots and of things are illegal, I’ve never heard of anyone being done for it and I’m sure the case would be thrown out anyway as a court would say that it should have been adequately secured.

    Saying that it’s more of a social etiquette I’m wondering about, so far the Irish seems to be it’s fair game and the Germans think it’s morally wrong 🀣🀣


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 6,084 Mod ✭✭✭✭ liamog


    I think it's morally wrong, I wouldn't be plugging in to random plug sockets just because I could.
    I don't see it as a crime as the cost is so low, but I'd still ask permission before I did it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,834 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin


    Oh I agree it isn't right to be stealing electricity. I think a lot of people would try to ask first and would only do it if they were desperate.

    The one caveat as Black_knight mentioned is if you're living in an apartment. You're paying a management company as part of your residence there and while that doesn't mean you own the facilities, it gives you a more legitimate case to use a socket in the parking area. Particularly if the management company is blocking you installing a charger of your own.

    EVM actually did a video on whether it's likely someone is going to rob your electricity to charge an EV (via a home charger in this case)



    The long story short is that the risk of being caught dramatically outweighs the potential reward. You'd need to be sitting there for several hours to save any reasonable amount of money which dramatically increases the risk of being caught. This is hugely increased for using a 3 pin charger

    So I think beyond the occasional emergency top up, using sockets without permission isn't going to be a big issue


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,907 ✭✭✭✭ ELM327


    BENDYBINN wrote: »
    Good man!.....laughing at other people’s misfortune
    Could at least offered to help.....you’ll be stuck someday too!
    They shouldnt be trying to freeload from my bloody home charger!


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 6,084 Mod ✭✭✭✭ liamog


    I remember when I first got the e-Up! the woman across the road called round to let us know someone had been using our charger :D


  • Moderators Posts: 11,979 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    What about when getting your car serviced? Would you drop the car off and plug it in before it's taken in? 7kW+ unit, parked for a while at least, getting bent over for a pollen filter change...


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,834 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin


    What about when getting your car serviced? Would you drop the car off and plug it in before it's taken in? 7kW+ unit, parked for a while at least, getting bent over for a pollen filter change...

    Well that's different, you're a paying customer and if the mechanic provides chargers then you can legitimately request to use them.

    The Nissan garage in Airside for example has a 50kW charger for anyone to use, can't imagine them saying no to a quick top up


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,448 ✭✭✭ Casati


    liamog wrote: »
    I think it's morally wrong, I wouldn't be plugging in to random plug sockets just because I could.
    I don't see it as a crime as the cost is so low, but I'd still ask permission before I did it.

    Is stealing a bar of chocolate from a shop not a crime or just morally wrong?

    It’s not going to get you 5 years in the Joy but I would have presumed any theft regardless of value of goods stolen is a crime


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 6,084 Mod ✭✭✭✭ liamog


    I, much like the Irish statute book, define the crime of theft as taking something with the intent to deprive the original owner of it.
    So in the case of a chocolate bar, as the shopkeeper no longer has the chocolate bar obviously a crime has been committed.

    I am not a lawyer, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    Taking electricity without permission is more complicated ...
    Have you deprived them of the electrons, not really. But they do probably have to pay a higher bill, I don't think theft has occurred.
    You've not entered into a service agreement with the payer of the bill, so there is no crime of illegally obtaining the service.

    Like I say, do I think it's wrong, yes, but do I believe a crime has been committed, I'm not sure what would cover it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,323 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    liamog wrote: »
    I, much like the Irish statute book, define the crime of theft as taking something with the intent to deprive the original owner of it.
    So in the case of a chocolate bar, as the shopkeeper no longer has the chocolate bar obviously a crime has been committed.

    I am not a lawyer, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    Taking electricity without permission is more complicated ...
    Have you deprived them of the electrons, not really. But they do probably have to pay a higher bill, I don't think theft has occurred.
    You've not entered into a service agreement with the payer of the bill, so there is no crime of illegally obtaining the service.

    Like I say, do I think it's wrong, yes, but do I believe a crime has been committed, I'm not sure what would cover it.
    Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 s. 15(2) covers it.
    (2) (a) A person who dishonestly uses, or causes to be wasted or diverted, any electricity or gas shall be guilty of an offence.

    (b) For the purposes of this subsection an act is done by a person dishonestly if the person does the act without claim of legal right.
    So, if you plug your appliance into a socket that you don't pay the bills for, and you have no plausible reason to think you have express or implied permission to do so from the person who does pay the bills, or otherwise have the right to do so, you are guilty of the s.15(2) offence.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 146 ✭✭ salamiii


    i have a solar charger as long as its sunny my phone charges


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,323 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    salamiii wrote: »
    i have a solar charger as long as its sunny my phone charges
    Could take a while to charge the car, though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,597 ✭✭✭✭ ted1


    A leaf driver , drove over a kerb and footpath to plug in to a charger at work. Needless to say that airport security where happy to tow it away. Security can turn in and off the charger at reception

    It’s theft. As simple as that.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,176 ✭✭✭✭ DrPhilG


    I have once or twice plugged into a socket in the multi storey car park at work. They charge £6 for the days parking so I was glad to reduce my bill a little.

    I wouldn't be arsed for the most part. I only did it because I was late and missed all the free parking at my own building.

    Even when the car park was free during Covid lockdown (the first one) I'd rather park outside my building than have a 5 minute walk in the pis$ing rain just to get a few quids worth of electricity.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,448 ✭✭✭ Casati


    DrPhilG wrote: »
    I have once or twice plugged into a socket in the multi storey car park at work. They charge £6 for the days parking so I was glad to reduce my bill a little.

    I wouldn't be arsed for the most part. I only did it because I was late and missed all the free parking at my own building.

    Even when the car park was free during Covid lockdown (the first one) I'd rather park outside my building than have a 5 minute walk in the pis$ing rain just to get a few quids worth of electricity.

    If you paid only for parking rather than for electricity then it would appear you have committed a crime?

    With more EV's on the road this will become more of a problem for car park operators- what you consider small money to you, might be the profit margin or more for the operator, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them decided to take a case or potentially test other by-laws and maybe clamp a car that was illegally plugged in.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,561 ✭✭✭ BENDYBINN


    Surely all hotels should have sockets available in their car park for ev owners.......
    The extra business would more than pay for the couple of euro of electric.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,448 ✭✭✭ Casati


    BENDYBINN wrote: »
    Surely all hotels should have sockets available in their car park for ev owners.......
    The extra business would more than pay for the couple of euro of electric.

    They should have proper charging points available but I wouldn’t expect them them to be free


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ innrain


    I agree with you and I think just the idea of plugging into someones socket is wrong. There may be nuances I admit.
    Casati wrote: »

    With more EV's on the road this will become more of a problem for car park operators- what you consider small money to you, might be the profit margin or more for the operator, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them decided to take a case or potentially test other by-laws and maybe clamp a car that was illegally plugged in.

    Wouldn't be more business minded to install chargers and charge for use? I think the best way to convey a message is to provide the way and then deny some options.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,561 ✭✭✭ BENDYBINN


    Casati wrote: »
    They should have proper charging points available but I wouldn’t expect them them to be free

    Anyone know what it costs to have public charger installed for businesses?


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,176 ✭✭✭✭ DrPhilG


    Casati wrote: »
    If you paid only for parking rather than for electricity then it would appear you have committed a crime?

    Have you ever plugged in your mobile while at work?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,448 ✭✭✭ Casati


    DrPhilG wrote: »
    Have you ever plugged in your mobile while at work?

    I sure you can find plenty of dirt on me but that doesn't detract from the law does it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,474 ✭✭✭ innrain


    BENDYBINN wrote: »
    Anyone know what it costs to have public charger installed for businesses?


    The cheapest is in hundreds. The best approach I saw in Dublin is the Lexicon in DLR

    https://photos.plugshare.com/photos/389604.jpg
    These units are bare minimum. Should you wish billing associated add another couple of hundreds. For a parking business this cost is a laugh.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,834 ✭✭✭ the_amazing_raisin


    innrain wrote: »
    The cheapest is in hundreds. The best approach I saw in Dublin is the Lexicon in DLR

    https://photos.plugshare.com/photos/389604.jpg
    These units are bare minimum. Should you wish billing associated add another couple of hundreds. For a parking business this cost is a laugh.

    Also you can claim a large portion of the expense back against tax under ACA, so the cost for chargers is even cheaper


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