Do you know the real cost of electricity in Spain?
Have you checked your electricity bill carefully? If you haven’t, you might be surprised what you are actually being charged for!
We are often asked about the cost of living in Spain. Obviously, we say that it depends on the type of lifestyle you lead. However, for the life we live, it is much cheaper here than in many other countries.
The one factor that continually shocks us though is the cost of electricity in Spain.
According to a recent article in El Pais, “Spain’s electricity bills are among the highest in Europe, having risen 60 percent between 2006 and 2012, with only the Irish and Cypriots paying more. Following two price rises in August and October, electricity companies announced just before Christmas that prices would go up a further 11 percent in January; in the face of the outcry that followed, the government intervened, preventing the increase.”
“The government says the main problem is the enormous electricity deficit – the difference between the sum paid by electricity companies to power generators and the amount they recoup from their customers. This has occurred as a consequence of subsidies to promote renewables, including high feed-in tariffs to power generators.
Another contributing factor to the deficit problem was a poorly designed policy that kept consumer rates low even as supply costs climbed, so the true costs were never passed on to customers. The electricity companies are now trying to recoup their debt, which makes up around eight percent of Spaniards’ electricity bills.”
(Original article: http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/01/01/inenglish/1388590410_230748.html)
Being expensive is one thing but allowing companies to rip people off is another!
Last year, in order to reduce our ever increasing electricity costs with our supplier, Endesa, we invested in solar panels. The savings were instantly visible. Our monthly bills were halved. The solar panels, which were also subsidised, thanks to an environmental grant from the Junta de Andalucía, should pay for themselves within a couple of years.
So, imagine my surprise when the latest bill arrived and we had returned to our original, pre-solar panel, costs.
A bill of over €200 per month!!!
As you may guess, I wasn’t exactly smiling as I read the amount. I was a lot less that, not smiling when I read the reason for the increase … (breathe now!)
We had received a €161,04 plus 21% VAT, ie a total of €194.86, for not having an ICP switch. How could they justify a charge the same price as our two-month electricity bill?
Needless to say, I took to social media (Facebook and Twitter) to immediately inform others. Many of whom had also received a much higher bill and had not understood why. It also transpired that many people were not aware of what this charge was and if they too were being penalised.
You can read the comments on our Facebook page: Family Life in Spain on Facebook …
For those of you on Twitter, make note of @EndesaClientes . Make sure you tweet them to tell them how disgusted you are with their possibly “illegal” behaviour.
An article on the *FACUA website states ” Electrical companies are applying illegal penalties to users who had no power limiters, even though, the meters have been changed. They continue ‘fining’ up to 31 euros per month, arguing that the law obliges them, although the new digital meters include the required ICP.”
(Original article in Spanish published here: https://www.facua.org/es/noticia.php?Id=6556)
*FACUA: FACUA-Consumers in Action is a non-governmental and non-profit organization. Since its foundation in 1981, it has been dedicated to the defence of consumer rights. FACUA can be considered a progressive, democratic, plural and participatory organization, independent from government, political parties, religious ideologies and business interests.
So, we had kind of resigned ourselves to that fact that we’d have to pay the €30 monthly penalty until we were able to upgrade our electrics. But, €161 simply took the biscuit!
We understand that once the necessary steps have been taken, the charge will be removed and maybe even refunded … we’ll let you know if that actually happens and will not be holding our breath.
On Monday, Sean from BS Electrical, a reputable and experienced electrician here in the Malaga area, who has already assessed our situation, will be visiting us to let us know how much it will cost to do what has to be done. He also kindly allowed us to share his great explanation of “What is an ICP switch” and guidelines how you can avoid this horrendously ridiculous charge from your Spanish electricity supplier. (Link at the end of this post).
So, before doing anything else, go and dig out your latest electricity bill and look out for the words “Penalización p/ausencia de ICP”, as seen in the photo above. We’d be very interested to see how many others have been sneakily caught out …