Electricity costs impact procurement plans at McGill’s

Ralph Roberts

A bus operator in Scotland has said that rising electricity costs have caused it to reconsider its procurement plans.

McGill’s Buses Managing Director Ralph Roberts tweeted on 8 February that the increase in electricity prices, due to take place in October, amounted to an increase of £624,000 per annum to charge its fleet of battery-electric buses. According to Mr Roberts, the calculations showed that diesel generated electricity would come in at approximately £100,000 per year less, though clarified that such a calculation was merely an exercise and there was no serious consideration of charging its buses using diesel.

However, Mr Roberts says the rising costs have affected the operator’s attitude to vehicle procurement. “We were not expecting this level of volatility in electricity prices, mainly because they have never been this volatile,” he explains. “They are still volatile, and the prices are still going up.”

He says the volatility of the market will make it very difficult to meet Scottish Government ambitions to deliver 50% of bus mileage using zero-emission vehicles by the end of 2023. “There are macro matters that are affecting that, such as what is going on in Ukraine. Hopefully that will right itself at some point and allow prices to come back down. But maybe it won’t… the best we could say is the picture is very unclear. In short, our attitude towards moving overt to electric vehicles has changed.”