Saturday, 30 Sep 2023

Airbnb host left shocked after electric car drivers ‘steal’ her electricity

An Airbnb host has been left shocked after electric car drivers allegedly stole her electricity, costing her hundreds of pounds.

Amanda, who owns a holiday home in North Wales, said she had been the victim of ‘electricity theft’ in 2022 when neighbours told her guests were reportedly hanging wires out of her windows to charge their cars.

Charging an electric car via the mains rather than an official charging station takes much longer and can cost homeowners hundreds of pounds.

Amanda said she estimated that around 20 cars had been charged from her home in recent years, adding around £600 to her electricity bill.

Amanda is now concerned about what the charging could do to her home insurance.

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Speaking to the Mirror, Amanda said: “It’s not just the cost – it’s also about safety. Charging a battery using a three-pin plug can take around 30 hours.

“That’s a significant amount of power flowing through a standard household socket for an extended period of time.”

Amanda has said she would advise any other Airbnb host to install a charging point to avoid the dangers of plug-in sockets.

She said that for any holiday home-owner, the safety of their guests was a priority.

CMO at eco-car charger Go Zero Charge, Peter O’Brien  said: “Anyone who suspects they might be a victim of electricity theft should explore their options, whether they prefer to contact their energy supplier, report fraud or submit an anonymous online tip.”

Amanda’s situation is a reflection of the increasing popularity of electric cars. Where once they could travel just a few miles, now they can travel as far as petrol and diesel cars.

The problem for holidaymakers is that the charging infrastructure in rural areas isn’t as thorough as it is on the nation’s motorways.

One of the UK’s premier travel brands, Thomas Cook, has warned that it will take some time for the infrastructure to catch up.

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This is causing issues for some travellers who find themselves forced to use electric cars when they rent a car.

David Smallman, 77, told the Telegraph he had no choice but to drive an electric car when he rented a car in Newcastle which didn’t come with its own charging cable.

He said: “It was a pain as I needed to figure out where to charge it. In fairness, the car did have a system that showed where some stations were and how much charge I had left.

“But, Hertz didn’t give me a charging cable, so I couldn’t charge the car at my hotel overnight.”

Mr Smallman added: “When we were travelling around and needed to charge, we often found charging stations but we didn’t have our own cable so had to wait for ages until the correct station was free. The whole experience was just painful.”

Mr Smallman isn’t the only unhappy traveller who has found renting an electric car difficult, other travellers have found the process of looking for somewhere to plug in difficult too.

Some say a lot of the anxiety around tourists renting an electric car is the unfamiliarity they have with the machinery, meaning they jump into an unfamiliar driving ecosystem.

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said: “It will take some time for the infrastructure in many of the most popular holiday destinations to catch up with the demand – especially during the busy summer weeks.”

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