Utilities in Spain: Facts and Myths

With prices on the up, scams on the rise, and more players entering the energy market, it pays to know the reality behind the hype regarding utilities in Spain. Take a look at our tips and make sure you know fact from fiction.

All Bottled Gas Is Subject To The Official Government Price FALSE

Gas bottles subject to official prices are only the traditional (heavyweight) 12.5kg butane bottles and 11kg propane bottles.

If you prefer lightweight gas bottles, the company can decide the price. Compare different brands and providers, taking into account any delivery charge.

Traditional gas bottles do not have a delivery charge, regardless of what the driver says. If you want to avoid delivery charges for lightweight bottles, you can usually buy them at your local petrol station.

If You’re Locked Into An Electricity Contract For 12 Months And Decide To Change Company During The Contract Duration There’s A Penalty Fine TRUE

To date many providers don’t bother to charge clients, but that doesn’t mean they can’t.

Increased competition from new entrants to the market, coupled with more savvy consumers, has led to a greater possibility for companies to lose clients. Tying a client in for 12 months is an attractive way to increase profits.

If You Sign Up For A New Utilities Contract, You Can’t Cancel If You Change Your Mind IT DEPENDS

Distance selling regulations in Spain allow 14 days for consumers to change their mind and cancel without having to give a reason. This applies only when the service was contracted online, by phone, or with someone who visited your home.

If you signed the contract at a company’s office and then change your mind, you may have to pay a penalty charge.

Using An Online Comparison Site Is The Best Way To Find The Cheapest Tariff IT DEPENDS

Most comparison sites survive by receiving a commission for clicks made and contracts signed, this means their interest is in making money and not showing you the best offer. Additionally comparison sites may not include all companies in your area.

However using two or three sites may help you to find a good tariff. Additionally new comparison websites are launching that are more transparent.

A good option is to compare tariffs by using the official government comparison site. Read our post; Reduce Your Electric Bill.

Gas Inspections At Your Home Must Be Paid In Cash FALSE

Domestic gas installations must be checked every 5 years in Spain (except in the Basque Country where it’s every 4 years) and boilers checked every 2 years.

Official distributors, such as Iberdrola or Endesa, must inform households 3 months before regarding the inspection date. The cost is ALWAYS put on your gas bill and never paid to the technician carrying out the checks.

A common scam in Spain is for false inspectors to call at homes, pretend to check the installation and ask to be paid in cash. If you have any doubts, tell the visitor you’ll take a photo of their DNI (with your smartphone). If they’re scammers they’ll make their excuses and leave!

You Can Contract Green Energy For Your Home TRUE(Ish)

Lots of electricity companies in Spain advertise 100% green energy from renewable sources, which sounds great. However after electricity from all sources (green and traditional) enters the national grid, it can’t be separated.

In other words you can’t choose the type of power that’s used in your home, unless you’re off grid.

But as more consumers demand green energy, supply will have to increase to meet demand.

You Have To Pay For A Smart Meter To Be Installed FALSE

Smart meter installation across Spain should be completed by the end of 2018. Companies install the new meters free of charge. Even so, check your bill just in case they’ve tried to sneak it on! If there’s a charge, claim it back.

Unfortunately smart meter monthly rental charges are higher than for old meters.

Utility Company Reps That Call At Your Door Will Offer You The Best Tariff FALSE

Remember that these reps work commission only and are normally contracted by third parties, not directly by the electric company. They will nearly always try to get you on to a higher tariff than you need.

Don’t fall for the excuse of “let me check your bill to help you find the right tariff”. This is only used to get your details and could even be a data theft scam.

Thinking of relying on the “14-day cooling off period” to cancel the contract? In most cases you won’t even receive a bill until a month after the visit, by then you’ll probably be locked into a 12-month contract.

It’s Better To Wash Your Car At Home Where You Can Control The Amount Of Water Used FALSE

Although it may seem that your local petrol station car wash uses hundreds of litres of water, they have been designed to be eco-friendly.

The average car wash uses 30% less water than using a hosepipe at home and they also reuse water for initial rinses.

If you still want to wash your car at home, attach a sprinkler nozzle and button to use around 30 litres per wash.

And watch out for fines. Many towns in Spain fine people for washing their car in the street, anything from a symbolic 30€ up to 3000€ in big cities!