Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) is currently widely used as an insulating material for power cables due to its good physical properties, however when in use it undergoes an electrical ageing process. Its ability to trap electric charge can give rise to space charge accumulation in the bulk of the polymer and produce localised electric stresses that can lead to cable failure, since the electric field will be increased above the design stress in some regions favouring the initiation of degradation there. In this work the PEA (pulsed electro-acoustic) method was used to compare the charge dynamics in three samples (XLPE cable peelings) aged in different ways (electrothermally in the laboratory, field aged in service and thermally aged in the laboratory). Very different transient behavior was found depending upon the ageing history. This is related to differences in the migration of chemical species in the insulation layer, which are known to act as charge traps. All materials showed heterocharge peaks when the space charge reached stability, the magnitude of which seems to be related to the severity of the ageing.