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Reduce Your Electric Bill

bills_spainHow did you choose your electricity tariff? Based on the advice of friends and neighbours in Spain? If some time has passed since you last checked your bills, follow our simple guide and starting saving money right now.

The Basics

Electricity bills in Spain have the following fixed components that you need to pay even if you don’t use any electricity:

  • Power capacity: The rate you have contracted in kW x days x price.
  • Rental of metering equipment
  • (Optional) maintenance contract

Added to the above is the variable component:

  • Consumption
  • Electricity tax: A special tax (similar to alcohol or tobacco taxes) applied on both the power capacity and consumption.

Both fixed and variable costs are subject to VAT at the current rate.

Remember that most electric companies in Spain offer billing in different languages, so it’s easy to check what you’re paying.

How to Reduce the Fixed Part

The higher the power capacity rate on your bill, the more you’ll pay every month. Companies tend to put customers on higher kW rates than required, as most people won’t bother checking it.

Take a look at your consumption for the previous year (to take into account seasonal highs), check which kW rate is on your bill and consider whether it’s too high. As a rough guide:

  • Small/medium sized home with gas heating and electrical appliances: Contract 3.3/3.45kW
  • Larger home and / or air conditioning units: Contract 5.5/5.75 kW
  • Larger homes with heavier electrical consumption (eg. heating): Contract 9.9/10.35 kW

* Note: two figures are shown for each rate corresponding to the old and new system. Additional levels exist between those shown.

Use the Capacity Calculator in English on Endesa’s website (no need to be a client) as follows:

  1. Input your town name and the current contracted capacity (if known), go to next step.
  2. Choose single phase or three phase supply (normally households have a single phase supply).
  3. Indicate if you have electric central heating and air con and the number of rooms where these are installed.
  4. Input the number of all the electrical appliances in your home.

At the end Endesa will indicate a suggestion for the power capacity you should contract.

Don’t rush out and drop your rate thinking you’ll save immediately – the use of your electrical appliances will be limited by the trip switch. If you’ve never had any problems with your trip switch on days with the heaviest electric use (air con, washing machine, etc) then you’re probably paying too much and can safely drop down a level.

Saving: around 60€ per year (for each level reduced).

How To Change Tariff

When you have a good understanding of your bill and have tackled the fixed part, then you can move on to the variable part.

Electricity tariffs are a nightmare, with well over 100 available. Added to this are the peculiarities of different consumers. If you’re extremely organised than a tariff based on specific days (eg weekends) may suit you, but these cases are the exception rather than the rule.

For many households the best option is the Government-regulated PVPC tariff, for this you’ll need to have less than 10kW contracted.

You can find lots of comparison tables on the Internet, but watch out as many are promotions (the website owners get a payment if you contract the tariff), so they many not show the cheapest.

Compare using the official website (only in Spanish, but easy and quick to use). You’ll need the following data to hand:

  • Your postcode
  • Power capacity in kW
  • Estimate of annual consumption
  • Choose whether you would like to see rates with additional services

Results are shown for the full price you’d pay in the first year and the second year (as many companies have 12-month introductory offers).

Changing tariffs is easy and free, you’ll need to locate your Unified Supply Point Code CUPS number on your bill – an alphanumeric code starting with ES – to quote when speaking with the company.

Don’t forget that there are lots of new companies on the market with decent tariffs, you don’t need to go with one of the well-known names. Even if a smaller company stops trading, your electricity will never be cut off. Why? Smaller companies do not generate power, they simply buy and sell it on the free market. One of the bigger companies always has overall responsibility for the supply and this is shown on the invoice.

Saving: Between the cheapest and most expensive tariffs, over 200€ per year

Maintenance Service Contracts – Are They Worthwhile?

Well, it depends. Do you have a separate boiler contract? If so, then you may find that you’re duplicating payment.

Remember, lots of special tariffs have a mandatory maintenance contract. If your home is quite new, you may be paying for nothing. For older homes if may be worthwhile.

Saving: Around 10€ per month.

MSS Tips

More ways to save:

  1. Turn it down! The recommended temperature for your home is 18 to 21ºC, however many of us turn the thermostat up higher. Reducing the setting by a couple of degrees means more savings.
  2. If you have a maintenance contract and change provider, the maintenance contract will NOT be cancelled by your current supplier. The maintenance contract is included on your normal bills “for your convenience”, but it’s also a sneaky way to make sure you carry on paying as many people won’t notice a monthly payment of around 10€. If you decide to cancel your maintenance contract, you must specifically inform the company.
  3. Don’t listen to anyone visiting your home to “check your bill”. They will NEVER offer you the best tariff as they work commission-only. Previously this was a way to get people’s personal data to change contracts without their knowledge, however all contracts must now be signed to avoid fraud or agreed by telephone.

Stop giving away money to electric companies! Put aside an hour this week to check your electric bills, it could be the best money-saving hour you invest this month.

 

Related Post: 5 Facts About Smart Meters in Spain

How to Reduce your Electric Bill in Spain

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