NEWS - EUROPE Applegreen celebrates sale of winning Euromillions tickeT EU clears German plan for electric charging network The European Commission announced this month that it had approved German plans for an infrastructure network for charging electric vehicles across the country. The plan, at a total cost of €300 million over four years, will require that the electricity comes from renewable energy sources, with contracts awarded through an open tender process. “Electric vehicles can provide real benefits to society by reducing harmful emissions and noise pollution. The German support scheme will encourage consumers and businesses to use electric vehicles,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement “It will provide the necessary infrastructure in a cost-effective way in line with EU state aid rules.” UK fuel station workers pay the price for fuel thefts Excited staff and customers at the Applegreen service station in Lusk, north Dublin, celebrated the news this month that the shop had sold the €88.5 million EuroMillions jackpot ticket. The motorway services station, located on the M1 northbound, decided to drop its fuel prices to 88.5 cent a litre for a limited time to mark the jackpot. Queues built up quickly at the store and were backed up as far as a nearby roundabout. Staff gave pastries to motorists as they waited to take advantage of the special offer. Joe Barrett, chief operations officer and co-founder Applegreen said celebrations livened up a “dull wet January day. “There’s huge excitement and a great buzz here,” he said. Mystery still surrounds the identity of the ticket holder and lottery representatives have been tight-lipped about the details. Michael Feeney, site director at Applegreen, said: “It’s only just come out of the blue really. We’re having fun with it. We don’t know who bought the ticket – there’s a large turnover here. It could be local, it could be somebody travelling, it could be gone up North, it could be anyone.” A National Lottery spokesman said it did not disclose the amount paid for selling a winning ticket. However, the owner of a store in Ireland received €25,000 for selling an €87million jackpot ticket in 2014. BP to open more forecourt M&S food stores to drive profits BP is planning an expansion of its tie-up with Marks & Spencer to drive profits on the petrol station forecourt and fight off competition. The oil giant has been cashing in on the change in British shopping habits which has seen consumers opt for smaller convenience stores over huge supermarkets. While the cost of crude oil has dropped over the last few months, BP has been able to bank on its deal with M&S to increase profits from drivers. There are currently 248 M&S stores on the forecourt of BP petrol stations, with the number growing steadily since they first began working together in 2004. But now BP is hoping to grow this by a fifth in the next year opening an average of around one every week. This will tally with a change at M&S, which is planning to shut 60 food and home stores over the next year, but also to open hundreds more of its Simply Food outlets. Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive of the refining and marketing division of BP, said: ‘In a hectic world, customers want easy, they want speed, quality and range.’ On the forecourt, M&S selects which products to sell, but BP operates the stores and earns an undisclosed share of the profit on everything sold. BP doesn’t separate out its earnings from its ‘downstream’ profits of which retail is a part. But while the oil price collapse sent the drilling side of the business into the red, retail sales are continuing to rise. By early 2018 the firm plans to have 300 stores in the UK and could roll out the concept to some of its 900 franchised sites. It is also looking to export the idea overseas. Petrol station staff are being forced by bosses to pay for fuel stolen by motorists. Some service station owners dock their wages when thieves drive off from the pumps without paying. As fuel theft reaches record levels, the Petrol Retailers Association believes the penalty is the “ultimate sanction” against negligent staff. Union leaders have blasted the practice as “immoral and illegal”. More than a million “pump and run” thefts take place annually. Latest Home Office figures show it is costing the nation’s garages £31.4million a year. Petrol station staff say “pump and run” incidents have become common. In some cases cashiers have the total cost of the stolen fill-up - between £50 and £60 on average - docked from pay. Garage owners say the docking of wages happens in a “handful” of cases where staff have found to broken company rules. but unions have hit back. The GMB’s Paul Maloney said: “It is illegal to deduct wages unless it is specifically written into people’s contract of employment. In most cases it’s legally not right. It’s morally not right. It’s the responsibility of the owner to install security such as number plate recognition. They shouldn’t pass on their responsibilities to their lowest-paid members of staff.” Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, said: “Every fuel purchase has to be visualised and authorised. If not, it may well be after one warning, the cashier could be liable to pay it back. The cashier has to complete a form saying they understand what the penalties are. It’s very irregular because there are other sanctions before you get to a financial penalty.” Total commits to electric charging stations in France Hot on the heels of General Motors and Honda announcing they were going into business together to build hydrogen fuel cell systems, French oil and gas company, Total, has announced it will add electric vehicle charging stations to its petrol stations in France. The company says it is targeting around 300 petrol stations to be upgraded with electric vehicle charging stations. And, while no mention was made of the recent initiative announced by Ford, BMW, and the VW Group to launch an electric vehicle charging network, the decision by Total must surely be a part of that plan. Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne spoke with journalists at the recent SER renewable energy conference in Paris, “We plan to do it. We are thinking of how to equip our stations with electric charging points”. Pouyanne said the company was looking at installing the charging points mostly outside city centers and that it was already talking to car makers such as PSA. You would imagine it must also be talking to the other brands who’ve committed to the roll-out of an electric vehicle charging network.“Our plan consists of looking at how to create a charging point network around French highways to have charging points every 150 or 160 km (100 miles),” he said, adding that there was demand from clients. “We are preparing the investment for it,” Pouyanne said. 6 erpecnews is published by McLean Events, Conferences and Media Ltd.
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