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Electricity bill Spain with Euro notes Electricity in Spain: How To Save Money On Your Bill Expat Tips

With the current price of electricity in Spain at an all-time high, it’s clear that many of us would like to save and reduce our bills as much as possible.

On March 8, 2022, the wholesale price of electricity in Spain hit a record high of around €544 per Megawatt hour (MWh), more than 10 times higher than what it was at the same in 2021.

What's more, between the peak times of 7 and 8 pm, the average Spaniard will pay an eye-watering €700 per MWh.

The recent energy price rises have put a squeeze on household budgets and helped to increase the cost of living in Spain.

Although there isn’t much we can do about the cost of our energy as this is out of our control, there are a number of things we can do to minimise our consumption and at the same time, reduce our bills.

In this article, you will learn more about:-

  • How much electricity the average Spanish household uses
  • What the three electricity billing periods are in Spain
  • Where people use the most electricity
  • Lots of tips to help save money on your bills

Let's take a look!

How much electricity does the average household in Spain Use?

According to Spain’s IDAE (Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía), the average Spanish consumer uses around 10,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. The average Spanish household now pays around €1,400 per year for their electricity consumption with an average bill of €116.96 per month.

What are the new electricity billing periods and how do they work?

In June 2021, Spain introduced a set of new energy tariff charges.

The new tariffs establish three billing time bands which determine the cost of electricity based on the time of day.

Using your electrical appliances during these periods will determine how much you will ultimately pay for each kilowatt you use.

The new billing periods are:-

  • Off-Peak Rate (Valle) - As the name implies, this is the cheapest time in which to run your appliances. Off-peak runs from Midnight to 8 am Monday to Friday as well as all day on Saturday, Sunday and during national holidays.
  • Peak Rate (Punta) - The peak rate runs from 10 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 10 pm Monday to Friday. This is the most expensive period in which to run your appliances and will therefore see you pay more for the electricity you use.
  • Standard Rate (Llano) - This is the intermediate rate between high and low and runs from 8 am to 10 am, 2 pm to 6 pm and from 10 pm to Midnight, Monday to Friday.

Spain’s CNMC (National Commission on Markets and Competition in Spain) says that using certain appliances outside of the peak hours can save households around €130 per year.

Something else to consider is the tariff you are on as this will establish how the different billing periods impact your overall bill. Your bill will also be determined by whether you are using the free market or a regulated market (PVPC).

If you are unsure as to which tariff is best for your energy needs, you should speak to your provider.


Image Credit: CNMC 

Where do people use the most energy?

If you want to save on your bills, it is important to identify which devices are consuming the most energy. Once we know this, we can then, where possible, restrict their usage or purchase more energy-efficient models.

One of the biggest energy-hungry appliances by far is the air-conditioning unit which according to energy firm Endesa, is responsible for around 50% of all electricity costs.

According to Endesa, the average consumer uses around 5,300 kWh each year on staying cool.

Therefore, if you are looking to save on your electricity bills, you should most probably start by assessing your air-con usage and making sure your appliances have a good energy rating.

 

9 Tips To Save On Your Electricity In Spain

Make sure you are contracted for the right amount of power

The term ‘contracted power’ refers to the maximum amount of electricity you can use at any given time and is measured in kW or kilowatts.

This is sometimes referred to as the ‘potencia’ and will typically be 3.45 kW or 5.75 kW.

Many energy firms will automatically place you on a kW contract which is too high for your needs costing you more money.

If you are in doubt as to what your contracted power should be, check the previous year's consumption and compared this to the kW rate on your bill.

As a guide, the following is typical contracted power in Spain.

  • Small Home - Contracted power 3.45 kW
  • Medium Sized Home - Contracted power 5.75 kW
  • Larger Home - Contracted 10.35 kW

The larger your contracted power, the more appliances you can run at the same time.

However, having a larger contracted power also increases the cost of your bills so it makes perfect sense to adjust your contracted power so it is a more accurate reflection of your personal energy usage.

Smaller homes and families may find it more practical to have a lower contracted power of around 3.45 kW than say a large family running a lot more appliances at once who may need 5.75 kW.

If you find that your power keeps tripping when you are running certain appliances at the same time, it is an indication that your contracted power could be set too low. This would mean that you would either need to increase it, which would increase your bill, or stop running certain appliances at the same time.

Getting your contracted power right can be one of the best ways of reducing your electricity bills here in Spain.

Reducing your contracted power by just one point, for example from 3.4 kW to 3.3 kW, could save you around €50 per year.

Make sure the tariff that you are on is appropriate for your energy needs. If you are in any doubt, speak to your energy provider to get your tariff right.

Purchase energy-efficient devices

Energy efficiency has been a big selling point for many manufacturers so it is in their interest to produce the most modern appliances that are both eco-friendly and cheaper to run.

This is the case for many domestic appliances which offer an eco-mode.

One of the biggest indicators of the energy efficiency of an appliance is the A rating.

Energy rated appliances

As an example, a fridge with an A+ rating will consume around 250 kWh of electricity each year.

An A++ rated appliance will use around 200 kWh with an A+++ appliance consuming around 150 kWh per year.

An older style fridge could use more than 600 kWh. A huge difference!

By purchasing appliances with good A ratings, you could potentially save hundreds of euros per year.

Although you may initially pay more for an appliance with a good energy rating, over a period of time you will be saving money.

Use energy-saving light bulbs

Light bulbs are responsible for around 5% of a home's electricity consumption and although this doesn’t sound like much, every little helps and there are still savings to be made.

Most homes have now moved away from the traditional incandescent lightbulb, to more efficient Halogen, CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) and LEDs (Light Efficient Diodes).

CFL bulbs are said to use around 70-80% of the power used by the old-style bulbs so are a good choice in reducing electricity consumption.

However, LED light bulbs are thought to use around 85% less energy than the traditional incandescent lightbulb, making them an even better choice.

By purchasing energy-efficient lightbulbs such as LEDs or CFLs you can effortlessly save on your yearly electricity bills.

According to the UK’s Energy Saving Trust, the average consumer can save £3 per year for each 40w bulb used and £9 per year for each 100w bulb.

Find out more about energy-saving light bulbs.

Batch cook

The kitchen is a key battleground and a great place to start when trying to save energy.

One thing that you can do is to cook extra meals so they can be frozen and then reheated quickly when needed.

Batch cooking

Cooking two portions will cost the same as cooking one and save you lots of money over the course of the year when done regularly. For example, you could cook a cottage pie and a macaroni cheese in the oven, using the same amount of energy to cook the two dishes.

You may also want to consider cooking meals that take less time to cook once again, reducing the amount of energy you use.

Learn more about batch cooking for beginners.

Off-peak is cheaper

As we’ve seen, there are different billing periods that will determine exactly how much money you will be paying per kilowatt-hour.

Between 12 am and 8 am midweek and during the weekends, electricity is cheaper. If you can do things such as running the washing machine or dishwasher after this time, you could potentially save a packet over the course of the year.

Use eco-mode

Many appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines have an eco mode. It makes sense to take advantage of this and reduce your consumption.

When using an appliance in eco-mode you will be using less water and energy. In some cases, using eco-mode can mean you are using up to 60% less energy.

Standby mode is still using electricity

Instead of leaving televisions, computers and other tech devices on standby, just turn them off.

Do they really need to be left for hours on end in standby mode using electricity?

Television

Although opinions vary, some devices can use anything between 1 and 10 watts of energy per hour just sitting in standby mode.

Over the course of the year, each device left in standby mode could potentially add another 10 euros to your yearly electricity bill.

Close doors

Closing your doors is an extremely easy way of saving on your electricity bill.

By closing your doors, you create an enclosed space where your energy needs are focused.

Leaving doors open and heating/cooling parts of the home that aren’t being used is wasteful, not to mention expensive.

Close doors to rooms you aren’t using to save money.

Keep your home cooler

As we have seen, many people in Spain will spend around 50% of their annual electricity bill on air-conditioning and keeping their homes cool. This is especially the case during July and August when it is hottest.

If you go out to work or leave the home for long periods, make sure you lower the blinds, draw the curtains and shut doors to keep the property as cool as possible.

If you have an air-conditioning unit, make sure they are as energy-efficient as possible. As with washing machines and dishwashers, a more energy-efficient appliance will save a lot of money over the course of a year.

Learn more about how to keep cool and get a good night's sleep.

Sources

https://www.endesa.com/en/blogs/endesa-s-blog/tip/7-pillars-to-save-energy-at-home-easily
https://www.idealista.com/en/news/financial-advice-in-spain/2021/06/08/14891-new-electricity-rates-in-spain-in-2021-how-to-save-money
https://moneysaverspain.com/reduce-electric-bill/
https://www.endesa.com/en/blogs/endesa-s-blog/time-bands-light-valley-punta-llano