Maxine Raynor is the owner of one of our favourite websites, MoneySaverSpain.com. She has kindly donated the following information that we know our readers in Spain will find useful. Enjoy!
When you live in Spain you know that it can get chilly and even really cold during the winter, depending upon the area where you live. Many homes don’t have central heating or a mains gas supply, so when they need heating people often opt for electric heaters, which can soon hike up their bills.
The past few years have seen several increases in the price of electricity in Spain and electric companies are calling for an end to Government regulated tariffs too. Here are a few ideas on how to make sure you’re on the best tariff and how to save.
Check your fixed power rating: Part of your bill is a fixed amount depending on the KW rate contracted. So check last year’s bills 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 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: Whilst it’s still available, in most cases for contracts under 10 kW then you should be using the “Tarifa de Ultimo Recurso (TUR)” rather than free market tariffs. Very few companies offer prices below the TUR and these may be subject to contracting additional services, thereby cancelling out any savings.
Switch to cheaper night tariffs. 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 the 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.
Compare rates: 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.
Government allowance: Currently the Spanish Government has a special rate that is applied automatically for those households that contract under 3kW. Additionally the following can also request this rate: Pensioners, families with 3+ children, households with all members unemployed. The difference for a small household can be a saving of around 25% per bill. Of course, this special rate may be cancelled at any time by the Government.
About the author: Maxine Raynor runs the website MoneySaverSpain.com which is full of tips and info about saving money in Spain. Why not sign up for the weekly newsletter out Thursdays with up-to-date offers, discounts and consumer news.