The Energy Market Regulatory Authority (“Authority”) has published the Charging Service Regulation (“Regulation”) in the Official Gazette dated April 2, 2022 and numbered 31797.

The Regulation determines the procedures and principles for establishing charging units and stations where electrical energy is supplied to electric cars, operating the charging network, and charging stations connected to the charging network, and providing charging services. With this respect, the Regulation covers the establishment and operation of charging units and charging stations, the establishment of a charging network, the licensing and organization of charging network operators, except for mobile charging units that provide electrical energy for roadside assistance to electric vehicles, as well as the obligations, procedures, and principles governing the establishment and operation of the free access platform.

Network Operator License

With the Regulation, provisions have been made regarding the charging network operator license, exemptions of this license, and the licensing process. Also, provisions governing the license application and review processes have been enacted.

Charging network operation is carried out by the Authority's charging network operator license, which cannot be transferred under any circumstances. The Regulation additionally includes two circumstances that are not deemed license transfers. However, licensee legal entities that operate in the energy market and have regulated rates are not eligible to apply for a charging network operator license or provide charging services.

As per the Regulation, private charging stations that do not function commercially, as well as charging units that individuals set up for their purposes, do not need to be connected to a charging network, regardless of the name or technique.

Moreover, it is indicated that individuals who get a license from the Authority should follow the provisions of other laws as well as the provisions of the applicable legislation. If it is established that charging network operator in the market violates the terms of the applicable legislation, sanctions will be imposed on the person in question.

Pursuant to the Regulation, the license should include the licensee's trade name and a registered trademark, the effective date of the license and the licensing duration, and any other elements permitted by the Energy Market Regulatory Board (“Board”). As well, the license goes into effect on the date indicated in the license, and the licensee's rights and duties under the license become effective on that day.

Within the framework of the Regulation, the licensing period may be extended at the request of the license holder, beginning after the license period, and taking into account the maximum license period stipulated, and this license can be issued for a maximum of 49 years. In addition, the license can be changed at the request of the license holder or ex officio by the Authority. Therefore, the license change requested by the licensee should not include measures that undermine the free market or competition conditions. Further, the license automatically expires at the end of the licensing period, without any notice. However, there are other circumstances in which licenses can be revoked by the Board, and they are likewise specified by Regulation.

Although detailed provisions on license fees have been established, it has been stated that license fees include licenses, license amendments, license copies, and annual license fees. It is also determined that the Board would set the license fees for the following year until the end of December each year, published in the Official Gazette, and posted on the Authority's website. However, there would be no yearly licensing fee for five years, commencing with the first of the calendar year after the Regulation's implementation date.

Charge Network and Licensee's Rights and Obligations

It is specified in the Regulation that the charging network consists of public and commercial private charging stations that are operated by the charging network operator and are covered by licenses issued by the charging network operator. The charging stations are designed, installed, commissioned, operated, decommissioned, and inspected in compliance with current regulations and standards. Additionally, contrary to existing regulations or standards, no natural or legal person may offer electrical energy for charging the electric car or enable the use of charging equipment at the charging station.

Accordingly, within six months of the effective date of its license, the charging network operator should establish a charging network of at least fifty charging units and charging stations in at least five distinct districts. Pursuant to Regulation, it is mandatory for license holders who do not create the charging network within this period or who are unable to protect it after it has been established to meet the necessary conditions within thirty days without the need for notification and to notify the Authority that these conditions have been met.

On the other hand, at least 5% of the charging units in the charging network, and at least 50% of the charging units situated on highways and state roads controlled by the General Directorate of Highways, should be DC 50 kW or higher charging units. At each charging station linked to the charging network, at least one of the AC-powered charging units should have a Type-2 charging socket defined in the TS EN 62196-2 standard, and if not, at least one of the DC-powered charging units should be a combined charging system defined in the TS EN 62196-3 standard (Combo-2). AC-powered chargers with a Type-2 charging socket or vehicle connector can be put into service. The charging network operator is obliged to adopt the charging network to these conditions.

The charging network operator license allows the licensee to provide charging services throughout the country, to establish and operate a charging station, to have charging stations installed and operated within the scope of the certificates it has issued, to make loyalty agreements with users within the scope of the Regulation, and to demand the supply of real estate for charging stations to be established within the scope of the conditions determined in the Regulation. The rights of the licensee within the scope of the license cannot be transferred, assigned, or pledged to third parties without the permission of the Authority.

However, the obligations of the licensee are also specified in the Regulation. Some of these obligations are; (i) to provide the charging service without discrimination between equal parties, (ii) to provide charging service for all kinds of electric vehicles with socket structures compatible with the charging unit at the charging stations connected to the charging network and to have the necessary software, equipment and hardware, and (iii) to make and have the necessary financial liability insurances to indemnify the material damage and loss against life and property that may arise from the provision of charging service.

Further, the charging network operator is also responsible for all information submitted to and made accessible to the Authority, including its confidentiality, integrity, accessibility, correctness, and security. The charging network operator, except the Authority and other relevant public institutions and organizations authorized by the Authority, preserves the data obtained through the works and transactions carried out within the scope of its license under current legislation and takes and implements security measures to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing this data and charging network operating system. The charging network operator shall securely keep the data collected within the scope of the charging service for at least five years from the date of service. Furthermore, the Authority has the right to utilize, report on, publish, and make public the data it acquires from charging network operators.

Along with the abovementioned obligations, the charging network operator is also required to develop contact channels via which user complaints are transmitted, documented, and users may be tracked, as well as to notify the user by completing the requests within fifteen working days.

The Authority may postpone or suspend the charging network operator's responsibilities resulting from the relevant legislation in cases of force majeure, to the extent that they are affected, until the effects of the force majeure are eliminated. In cases when the obligations cannot be met, the Authority may decide to abolish the licensee’s obligations partly or entirely. Additionally, to be able to decide whether to postpone, suspend, or remove obligations under the relevant legislation, the charging network operator should notify the Authority of its application, which includes the start date and nature of the force majeure, its effects on its obligations under the relevant legislation, and the estimated elimination period of the effects, if possible.

As per the Regulation, the charging network operator issues a certificate for third-party charging station creation and operation, as well as charging station operation in connection with its charging network. The certificate issued by the charging network operator outlines the parties' rights and obligations for the supply of charging services between the charging network operator and the charging station operator to whom the certificate has been granted. When the charging station operator's certificate expires, so do its operations. Accordingly, if the license is revoked, the certificates issued by the charging network operator are rendered invalid.

User's Rights and Obligations and Charging Network Development

On the other hand, it is critical that users get service from all public charging stations that offer charging services to satisfy their immediate and particular needs, under the same circumstances as other users of equivalent status.

If the user does not have a loyalty agreement with the charging network operator providing the charging service within the scope of the Regulation, the user is required to give the information asked within the scope of the charging service fully and accurately. The user who desires to enter into a loyalty agreement with the charging network operator applies in writing or through the company's corporate communication channels to the appropriate charging network operator. A loyalty agreement can be made in writing or at a distance.

What is more, the user cannot require the charging network operator and charging station operator to meet their responsibilities for the supply of charging service until the user satisfies his/her obligations to prepare his/her electric car for charging service.

Within the scope of this Regulation, the charging network operator is obliged to submit some information to the Authority to be published on the free access platform under the times and format to be determined by the Authority. For instance, the payment method and working hours to be used for the charging service at each charging station, charging service prices to be applied based on the charging unit and socket for each charging station, and the suitability of the charging units and sockets at the charging stations, etc.

Further, the Authority may investigate charging network operators and charging station operators using its people or, if required, personnel from other governmental institutions and organizations. Furthermore, if conditions necessitating license cancellation are found, the Authority takes the necessary steps to ensure that service is not disrupted.

Finally, it is stipulated that individuals who provide charging services within four months of the date of this Regulation's entry into force should make their status in line with this Regulation.

Esra Temur