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Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and Their Legal Framework in Turkey
In accordance with developments in the automotive industry, the use of electric vehicles (“EV”) and the number of EV charging stations in Turkey are expected to increase in the coming years. Therefore, there has been a significant advancement in order to establish the legislative infrastructure for EV charging services in order to expand the use of electric vehicles in Turkey.
The Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws numbered 7346 (the “Amendment Law”) was published in the Official Gazette numbered 31700 and dated 25 December 2021. The Amendment Law includes provisions regarding charging activities and amends the Electricity Market Law numbered 6446 (“Law No. 6446”) with the addition of a new section titled "Charging Service" and sets out the basic principles for EV charging activities, including the establishment of the necessary technical infrastructure and legal infrastructure for charging stations. According to the Amendment Law, charging services are subject to licenses issued by the Energy Market Regulatory Authority of Turkey (“EMRA”) and should be conducted in accordance with Law No. 6446 and secondary regulations to be issued.
Following the enactment of the Amendment Law, as secondary legislation, the Regulation on Charging Service (“Regulation”) was published by EMRA in the Official Gazette dated 2 April 2022 and numbered 31797.
Persons who provide charging services as of the date that the Regulation enters into force should comply with this Regulation within four months.
Within the scope of the Regulation, the provisions regulate the establishment of charging units and stations where electrical energy is supplied to EVs, the operation of the charging network and charging stations connected to the charging network, and the details of charging services.
The main topics and the crucial provisions under these topics stipulated in the Regulation are as follows:
To operate a charging network, a charging network operator license (“license”) must be obtained. The charging network operator license holder (“license holder”) cannot transfer this license under any circumstances. However, as an exception, a license holder legal entity may transfer its rights and obligations under this Regulation to another legal entity through merger or division pursuant to the Turkish Commercial Code No. 6102, provided that the approval of EMRA is obtained.
Legal entities operating in the electricity market and whose tariffs are subject to regulation (such as electricity distribution companies) cannot apply for a license and cannot provide charging services.
In cases where it is determined that a charging network operation is in violation of the provisions of the relevant legislation in the market, the penalty and fines specified in Article 16 of Law No. 6446 are applied to the person who has violated the regulation.
Private charging stations that do not operate commercially by any name or means, and charging units that users set up for their own needs are not required to be connected to a charging network.
Under the Regulation, a private charging station refers to “the charging station established in the places with restricted access and may also conduct commercial activities”. Therefore, charging stations allocated for personal use are exempted within the scope of this Regulation.
The rights of license holders are as follows:
In addition to the obligations stipulated in Law No. 6446, further obligations for license holders are as follows:
The charging network operator is responsible for the confidentiality, integrity, accessibility, accuracy, and security of all information that it receives and submits to EMRA. The data collected within the scope of the charging service must be securely stored by the charging network operator for at least five years from the date of service.
In order to obtain a license, an application is made through the EMRA Application System with the information and documents that must be submitted in accordance with the procedures and principles determined by EMRA.
The legal person applying for a license to provide charging service should meet the following conditions:
A license is granted for a maximum of 49 years. License fees consist of the fees for obtaining a license, license amendments, license extensions, issuing copies of licenses, and annual license fees.
License fees are determined by EMRA at the end of December each year and published in the Official Gazette and announced on EMRA’s website. The license period may be extended upon the request of the licensee, starting from the end of the license period and by observing the maximum stipulated periods.
The annual license fee will not be collected for five years from the beginning of the calendar year following the date the Regulation entered into force, which means that the annual license fee will not be collected by EMRA until 1 January 2028.
A charging network consists of private charging stations open to the public for commercial activities, operated by a charging network operator, within the scope of certificates issued by the charging network operator.
A charging network operator must establish a charging network consisting of at least 50 charging units and charging stations in at least 5 different districts within 6 months of the effective date of its license.
A charging station may consist of one or more charging units. Charging at the charging station is only conducted when connected to a charging network.
Within the scope of this Regulation, the “certificate” refers to the "authorization certificate given to the real or legal person authorized by the charging network operator for the purpose of establishing or operating one or more charging stations within a charging network within the framework of the procedures and principles determined by EMRA”. Thus, the charging network operator can issue a certificate for the establishment and operation of charging stations by third parties and for those charging stations to operate in connection with their own charging network.
Only one license holder can issue a certificate for each charging station. The duration of a certificate cannot exceed the validity period of the relevant charging network operator license. The charging station operator can provide charging services at more than one charging station with a certificate obtained from the charging network operator. The primary responsibility for providing the charging service with the certificate rests with the charging network operator.
In order for a charging station to provide a charging service, it must have a workplace opening and operating license in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation on the Workplace Opening and Operation License. If it is determined that the workplace opening and operating license has expired, charging service activities at the charging station will also be terminated.
It is obligatory to provide a continuous and uninterrupted charging service at public charging stations, except for justifiable reasons not arising from the license holder and force majeure. Charging stations, which are open for use in the parking lots of workplaces such as hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers may offer charging services limited to the working hours of the workplace they are connected to.
EMRA may impose commercial and technical obligations and special conditions on charging network operators, including the establishment of a certain number of charging stations in certain locations, taking into account the geographical coverage of the charging network, the prevalence of charging stations, and the projection prepared by EMRA in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation.
According to the Regulation, in order to meet the electricity need of the charging station, an electricity generation facility based on renewable energy sources can be established within the scope of the Regulation on Unlicensed Electricity Production in the Electricity Market. Accordingly, in order to i) meet the electricity needs of consumers from its own production facility closest to the point of consumption, ii) bring small-scale production facilities to the country's economy in ensuring supply security, and iii) ensure the effective use of small-scale production resources, natural and legal persons who meet certain conditions under the aforementioned legislation, without the obligation to obtain a license and establish a company, can generate energy in Turkey.
Additionally, within the scope of the Regulation on Storage Activities in the Electricity Market, an electricity storage facility integrated into the consumption facility may be established within the charging station.
In both cases, such facilities within charging stations should be notified to EMRA by the charging network operator.
In order for charging stations to work interactively, harmoniously, and effectively with the distribution system, the requirements within the scope of relevant legislation must be fulfilled.
The communication protocols used by charging stations, charging networks and electric vehicles must be compatible with each other.
EMRA may determine the principles regarding the installation and operation of communication and control systems that will ensure the communication of charging stations connected to the charging network with the transmission and distribution system, and the uninterrupted, continuous and reliable operation of the transmission and distribution system.
A charging network operator may establish a reservation system to enable users to make reservations at charging stations in order to receive charging services.
According to the definition in the Regulation, a loyalty agreement refers to “the agreement that the user makes with the charging network operator license holder in order to obtain the charging service within certain advantages”. Thus, different charging service prices may be applied to users within the scope of a loyalty agreement in accordance with the relevant legislation.
Users who wish to conclude a loyalty agreement with a charging network operator must apply to the relevant charging network operator in writing or through the company's corporate communication channels. Provisions contrary to the relevant legislation cannot be included in a loyalty agreement.
EMRA will establish and operate a “Free Access Platform” to publish geographical locations, charging unit numbers, power and types, socket numbers and types, availability, payment methods, and charging service prices for public charging stations in all charging networks. Accordingly, the charging network operator is obliged to submit the necessary information to EMRA to be published on the Free Access Platform.
In the event of any violation of the Regulation in the establishment and operation of a charging network, in the installation and operation of charging stations, and in providing the charging service, the penalty stipulated in Article 16 of Law No. 6446 shall be applied to the charging network operator.
Additionally, in cases where the conditions for license cancellation are determined, EMRA will take the necessary measures to prevent the service from being disrupted. In cases where a license is revoked, the certificates issued by the charging network operator will also lose their validity.