Paying for Power on UK Campsites

As the camping season approaches, avid outdoor enthusiasts in motorhomes, caravans, camper vans and tents across the UK find themselves facing a new twist to their camping experience – pay-as-you-go electricity points on campsite pitches.

For many, this change raises a mix of curiosity and anxiety, as they grapple with the idea of adapting to a different system for accessing electricity during their outdoor escapades.

Imagine the scene, you’ve arrived at your favourite campsite, the excitement of seeing up your home for the night is at bursting point, and the anticipation of a serene night under the stars with your favourite glass of ‘something’ is imminent. However, this time, there’s an added complication, a change to your usual experience, you have to tap and pay for your electricity.

For nervous campers, this shift prompts a series of questions and concerns about how it will impact their overall camping experience.

But why are many campsites already installing this system?

Motorhome Matt recently interviewed Jules, owner of  Petruth Paddocks near Cheddar in North Somerset. Jules has spent a small fortune (around £30,000) upgrading his campsite to include 70 electric pitches with a pay as you go system.

His electricity bill was set to increase £30,000 to a an eye watering £120,000 per annum! This was mainly due to rising supply costs but also due to changing behaviours of visitors. It seems our consumption of electricity on a campsite is booming. The prime suspect are folks re-charging their electric car on arrival but this isn’t the whole story.

Our motorhomes and camping equipment now feature more electrical items than ever.

  • Powerful heating systems
  • awning heaters
  • small electricals

The end result is a electric meter that can be almost spinning so fast it can be trying to spin itself off the wall!

The Benefits of Pay as you go

But the benefits are not all on the side of the campsite owner.

  1. Paying for electricity as you consume it means we as campers have control over our electricity usage and this system allows us to pay only for the electricity we consume, promoting a more budget-friendly camping experience.
  2. Flexibility:  Campers now have the flexibility to choose whether or not we need electricity during their stay. For those who prefer a more rustic experience without electronic devices, they can opt out and save on costs.
  3. Environmental Impact: With the ability to monitor and manage our energy consumption, I believe we will become more conscious of our environmental footprint. This new approach encourages responsible energy use, aligning with the broader push for sustainable camping practices. In fact Jules at Petruth Paddocks states that since the installation of his system in 2022 he has seen customer consumption drop by one third.

The Concerns

  1. Technical Hurdles:

Nervous campers may worry about the technical aspects of the pay-as-you-go system. Will you struggle to navigate the payment process? What if the system malfunctions? Campers fear potential disruptions to their essential electrical needs, such as charging devices or powering camping equipment.

  1. Unforeseen Expenses:

While cost control is a touted benefit, some campers may be anxious about unexpected expenses. If you underestimate your electricity needs or forget to monitor usage, you could find yourself needing to top up more frequently than anticipated, potentially leading to additional costs. And of course the big question is will the campsite bring down the cost of a pitch if they are charging separately for electricity? This remains to be seen.

  1. Impact on Camping Culture:

For many campers, part of the allure of camping lies in a disconnection from the modern, fast-paced world. Introducing pay-as-you-go electricity points may feel like an intrusion, disrupting the simplicity and escape that camping traditionally offers.

Navigating the Transition

Campsite operators can ease the transition for nervous campers by providing clear and user-friendly instructions on how to use the pay-as-you-go system.

Detailed signage, online guides, and on-site assistance can help alleviate concerns related to technical hurdles, ensuring campers feel confident in managing their electricity needs.

Furthermore, campsite management should communicate the benefits of the new system effectively. Emphasising cost savings, environmental considerations, and the freedom to choose can help sway campers toward embracing the change rather than fearing it.


While the introduction of pay-as-you-go electricity points on our campsites may initially raise concerns among nervous campers, the shift brings tangible benefits, such as cost control and environmental consciousness. As we adapt to this new approach, campsite operators play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transition, addressing concerns, and highlighting the positive aspects of this evolving camping experience. So, as you embark on your next camping adventure, embrace the change, charge responsibly, and revel in the beauty of the great outdoors.


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