Reducing Energy Costs In Spain
Major changes have been made to electricity tariffs and electricity companies are still calling for an end to Government regulated tariffs. It’s probably just a matter of time until these tariffs disappear for most households, so see how the new changes affect you and what you should be doing now to save on your electric bill.
High Energy Prices
Despite intervention from the Government, electricity prices continue to rise in Spain. It’s a good idea to review your bills every year and see what measures you can take to save.
Previously the regulated tariff was the best option for most households, but in some cases it can be beaten by introductory offers by providers as long as you’re sure you’ll compare your tariff on a regular basis.
Meters are being changed to new smart meters in all households that have less than 15 kW contracted. Current meters are said to be inaccurate and new smart meters have to be in all homes by the end of 2018.
If you get a letter saying that your meter is going to be changed, you can request to be present to ensure that the final reading of your old meter is taken correctly – in fact you can call your supplier to see when they expect to change your meter. Changing the meter is free, although some companies tried to charge 10€ per new meter this has been stopped by the National Energy Commission. The monthly Government-fixed rental price for this new meter for normal tariffs works out at 0.81€ or 1.15€ (depending on type installed) but Endesa has challenged this price in the courts and is pending a decision to be able to charge more. Homes with the night rate tariff will be benefited, as they previously needed a meter with 2 counters. You can opt to pay for a smart meter and its installation (if your home meets certain technical requirements) and not pay the monthly rental fee.
Save On Your Fixed Power Rate
Part of your bill is a fixed amount depending on the KW rate contracted. So check your bills from the last 12-month period and see if you are using considerably less than what you’re paying for – if you are, call your supplier to reduce the rate. If you’re not sure which rate to choose, use the following guide:
Small to medium sized home with gas heating and electrical appliances: 3.3kW
Larger home and / or air conditioning units: 5.5 kW
Larger homes with heavier electrical consumption (eg. heating): 10 kW
Use the Official Tariff – But Compare First!
While it’s still available, in many cases for contracts under 10 kW the “Tarifa de Ultimo Recurso (TUR)” is cheaper than free market tariffs. Some companies offer prices below the TUR but check if they are subject to contracting additional services, thereby cancelling out any savings. (See how to compare rates below).
Switch to Cheaper Night Tariffs
Note: This rate is being phased out by some companies.
This type of tariff may be suitable for people who are considering installing storage heating systems and also for people who can choose when to use their appliances that consume the most electricity.
For contracts under 15 kW companies apply the economical rate normally between 22:00-12:00 h in winter and from 23:00-13:00 h in summer. Rates during these hours can be around half normal rates. At all other times a rate is applied which is approx. 8% to 20% above the normal rate.
It’s only worth changing to this type of tariff if you can be sure of consuming between 30-40% of your electricity during the economical rate hours, so if you’re a big air con user in the summer afternoons it’s better to stay on the normal tariff.
Use the official National Energy Commission website to compare current tariffs from different companies and the official TUR rate. You’ll need to put in your postcode and annual consumption. The useful thing about this official site is that you can compare normal tariffs and night tariffs by estimating your usage and see whether over a year you could save.
Currently the Spanish Government has a special discount (bono social) that is applied automatically for those households that contract under 3kW. Additionally the following people can also request this discount, even if they have 3kW or more contracted: Pensioners on low incomes, families with 3+ children, households with all members unemployed. In all cases the tariff contracted must be the TUR, as this special discount does not apply to free market tariffs. The difference for a small household can be a saving of around 25% per bill. Of course, this discount may be cancelled at any time by the Government.