Electrification is the way forward, and so is electrical safety

EuropeOn members are deeply invested in the safety aspect of electrification, as electrical contractors are the first in line to ensure that the energy transition and ensuing mass electrification are carried our in the safest way possible. Indeed, our members, national associations of electrical contractors play a key role in informing their member companies about the latest developments in electrical safety and relevant standards, which they have been doing for a long time and well before electrical installations were framed in the context of decarbonization.

In order to assist members, EuropeOn organized a roundtable on the fire safety of EV charging in parking lots. This may seem niche but in many jurisdictions across Europe, local authorities are nervous about allowing EVs to charge in such situations as EV fires are hard to put out and being underground makes it even harder. However, transport emissions cannot be left unabated and electrification is again the most sensible way forward (especially for light-duty vehicles).

Our roundtable featured speakers from EuropeOn’s Belgian member association Techlink, fire fighters representing the Federation of European Fire Officers and researchers from the Dutch Institute for Public Safety (NIPV). A full debate between participants followed presentations. Indeed, this was also the occasion for all speakers and participants to exchange and learn from each other’s perspective as this is a rising concern for all actors involved and centralized data is still lacking about the fire mitigation strategies for this relatively new technology.

For EuropeOn members it is paramount to keep up to date with the latest developments concerning electrical safety. Electrical contractors that operate across Europe must be informed and qualified to handle installations safely, especially as the Forum for European Electrical Domestic Safety (FEEDS) recently showed that half of accidental residential fires have an electrical source. EuropeOn is a proud member of FEEDS and supports its actions to ensure that electrical safety is considered by EU policymakers.

FEEDS also released another publication highlighting the link between (the lack of) fire safety and energy poverty. Consumers in energy poverty situations may be more likely to fall victim to rogue installers pretending to be qualified or lack the funds to renovate their electrical installations to appropriate standards (especially as the latter don’t benefit from as much funding as other aspects of renovations). This latest report, based on a survey, shows that for 57% of respondents, actions to address energy poverty do not consider electrical installations. As 132 million dwellings in Europe have outdated electrical installations, this is an alarming observation. Adding new clean and electrified solutions, which tend to reduce energy bills such as solar PV or heat pumps, can put a strain on outdated electrical installations increasing fire risks. Further, yet another FEEDS report shows that inspections of electrical installations are often optional or only recommended in EU countries.

This context highlights how electrical installations have been overlooked so far with dire consequences for the future. EuropeOn has not been standing by idly and we have kept promoting the consideration of electrical installations in the current revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. As the latter aims to significantly decarbonize buildings, prioritizing the energy-poor, and lead to the mass deployment of electric technologies (PV, heat pumps, EV charging) it is crucial that electrical installations are well considered throughout this process!

  • If you are a EuropeOn member and would like to access materials from the EV safety roundtable, please write to info@europe-on.org