Spain’s new electricity billing system has caused concern among consumer associations
The new system aims to put the emphasis on when electricity is consumed, rather than how much is consumed, and affects consumers with a contracted power capacity of under 15kW which applies to most homes and small/medium businesses. A single tariff called ,2.0TD will replace the six that have been available until now, and establishes peak rates between 10 am and 2pm and 6pm to 10 pm on weekdays.
A medium rate will be charged from 8am to 10 am, 2pm – 6pm and 10pm to midnight. The hours from midnight to 8 am, and all weekend usage will be charged at the lowest rate.
Peak rates take effect at the times of day when many businesses are in operation, and also when families return home in the evening. However, if a family wishes to put the dishwasher or washing machine on, they’re now advised to do so after midnight if they wish to save money – which could cause disturbances in many of the apartment blocks where Spaniards live close together, and may create disputes in those that already have community rules against appliance use late at night.
The 2.0TD billing system will automatically apply to almost 11 million consumers who on a standard regulated tariff known as PVPC. Others, who are on tariffs provided by private operators, are advised to consult their operators. There is a dizzying array of plans available, and no guarantee that they will not alter over time, meaning consumers will have to continually shop around to get the best offers available.
Spain’s energy watchdog, the CNMC, claims that savings of up to €300 a year could be made by consumers who change their habits to take advantage of non-peak times. However, consumer groups have slammed the new tariffs, claiming that some private companies are applying far higher tariffs and claiming that poorer households may not have the opportunities to use off-peak hours.
Tips to save money on the new tariff scales include:
- Programme appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, etc. to operate at off-peak hours.
- Cook and freeze meals at the weekend to save money on electric cookers during the week.
- Turn off appliances during peak hours, unplug chargers etc.
- Now is the time to look into alternative energy sources such as solar panels, turbines etc.
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