The item destined to pay the electricity bill has skyrocketed in the last two years. A recent analysis by the consumer organization Facua concludes that the electricity bill is still 26% higher than that of November 2020 despite the fact that it is far from the maximum reached a few months ago. However, there is room to reduce this expense because about 70% of homes have more contracted electricity power than necessary, according to a survey by the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC).
Consumers often wonder if it is worth changing the contracted power, a fixed expense that is paid on the bill regardless of the consumption that has been made. Carrying out this modification, however, is one of the most effective measures to reduce the amount of the receipt, although the change must be carefully studied, since the electrical power -which is measured in kilowatts- determines the number of electrical devices that can be connected to the network simultaneously. Exceeding this power will cause the Power Control Switch (ICP) to trip of the electrical panel -what is known as “jumping the leads”- and a power outage occurs.
In Spain, the most common electrical power is between 3.45 kW and 4.6 kW. Experts recommend looking at several factors when determining how much power a home or business needs. As detailed from Selectra, the consumer must look at the electrical consumption of their electrical appliances, how many they usually connect at the same time, the dimensions of the property, the number of residents and whether the installation is single-phase or three-phase.
There are some tools that can help the consumer to calculate the power that his property needs to function correctly. This is the case of this Facua simulator, which allows you to calculate what power is needed by entering various data related to household appliances, electronic equipment and the type of lighting in the home. But if doubts still persist, it is recommended to contact a licensed electrician to carry out an electrical analysis of the home.
Change of contracted power
The modification of the contracted power is requested through the electricity supplier. Before doing so, the CNMC advises downloading the load curve, which can be obtained through the distributor’s website, and analyzing the maximum demand in peak and valley periods.
The agency warns that if you have a contracted power, for example, of 3.95 kW and it is not changed, the distributor will consider the same power for the peak and valley period, despite the fact that the maximum power demanded in the valley period is of 2.3 kW. In this case, the consumer will pay for the surplus power contracted. Hence, the importance of adjusting it to the maximum.
How to calculate the price of the contracted power?
The cost of the power that is reflected in the bill depends on the number of kilowatts that have been contracted and the price per kilowatt that the electricity company has set. For example, in the case of having contracted a power of 4.6 kW and charging the price per kilowatt at 0.1228 euros, this component of the invoice would come out at 17.51 euros per month. Depending on the energy consumption, the amount of the contracted power can represent a high percentage of the electricity bill.
New electricity rate
Possibility of having more than one contracted power
The current regulations on the electricity tariff, which came into force in June 2021, establishes the possibility of contracting two electrical powers: one for the peak period and another for the valley period, which will be the most economical. Peak power is considered to be that which goes from 8 am to 12 midnight; and valley, which runs from midnight to 8 am, as well as weekends and national holidays. Another important aspect to take into account is that the contracted power can be changed once a year. “However, in practice the distributors are more permissible and allow the power to be modified on more than one occasion, especially when you want to increase it,” they clarify from Selectra.
The cost to the consumer
Is it free to change the contracted power?
Changing the contracted power is not free. In the case of lowering it, the down payment rights must be paid, which amount to 10.94 euros (VAT included) for domestic consumers. While in the case of increasing it, access and extension rights will also have to be paid, which amount to 44.86 euros for each kW increase. If a new Electrical Bulletin or Certificate of Electrical Installations (CIE) were also necessary, the cost would increase by an average of 150 euros.
For all these reasons, it is advisable to carefully assess the benefit of modifying the power. According to a study by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), each kilowatt contracted for peak and flat hours costs €30.67 per year (plus taxes), while the cost of a kilowatt contracted for off-peak hours is €1. 42 euros per year. Thus, a home that contracts 4.4 kW for the whole day will pay 180 euros per year just for the fixed part of its bill. On the other hand, if the day power is reduced to 3.3 kW and 4.4 kW is maintained only during off-peak hours (nights, weekends and holidays), 137 euros per year will be paid for the fixed term. However, this possibility will also depend on the equipment of each home.
How are the procedures done?
The consumer must provide the retailer with their personal data -name, surname and DNI-, bank details, the CUPS number -Universal Supply Point Code-, the electrical bulletin of the installation, as well as indicating the current power and the new . The company could require a new bulletin in case it has expired or a power higher than that indicated in the bulletin.