‘My brother keeps charging his car at my house – can I ask him to pay my electricity bill?’

dear moral money,

My family loves electric cars. I bought a Renault Zoe a few years ago and have never looked back – it’s nice and small, drives smooth and is so much cheaper than paying for petrol. I don’t know why people hate them – they really are the future.

However, last year I moved back into my parents’ house to help care for my father who is ill and needs help with daily chores like getting in and out of the car. I was more than happy and settled in for a long stay.

I paid for a charger to be installed in the driveway but my older brother who doesn’t live with us now uses it to charge his own car every visit. His car is much bigger than mine – an Audi e-tron – and it’s driving up our electricity bills.

Can I ask him for money every time he uses the charger? If he had a normal car he certainly wouldn’t expect me to pay to fill up his tank. He visits us regularly and although we all appreciate that, money is tight as we also pay professional carers to help.

TS, via email

You have the right to ask your brother for a contribution, especially if the household budget is tight due to higher care costs for your father.

It may seem like a small sum at first glance. According to EV, a price comparison website, it costs around £8.87 to charge an SUV like your brother’s from zero to 80 per cent with a 7kWh charger. You’re right that your brother’s car is a lot more expensive than your own: the cost of charging your Renault is around half the price at £4.44.

Small costs add up quickly. If your brother visits twice a week, his fees could cost you and your parents £71 a month. That’s no small sum, especially as your care costs are rising and so are prices elsewhere.

Your first option is to be open with your brother, discuss your family’s finances, and ask him to help pick up the bill. He’s already making frequent visits, suggesting he’s concerned for your parents’ well-being and would hopefully be receptive to the idea of ​​sponsoring his own expenses.

If you are uncomfortable asking him for money, you can suggest that he take care of a subscription to a public charging network. The costs vary. BP Pulse is one of the largest providers, offering a £7.85 per month subscription with the first three months free. Outside of a subscription, registered users can get a medium tariff starting at 38p/kWh.

Although your brother might find it odd that you ask him to charge his car somewhere else when there is a port in your driveway. To avoid embarrassment, it’s probably better to be frank and have an open dialogue. ‘My brother keeps charging his car at my house – can I ask him to pay my electricity bill?’

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