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Electricity problems? Read on PDF
Friday, 21 October 2011 15:00

Many householders here in Spain have been having problems with their electricity supply over the last year or so. As soon as they switch on a kettle, use the hairdryer or put the oven on, the power trips out.

Why is this happening all of a sudden and what is the solution?

In Spain each property has a contract for a certain amount of power (potencia) expressed in kilowatts (kW) - you can see yours on your electricity bill. In many properties this power figure is historical and was based on electrical power needs a generation ago.

Up until about a year ago, if your usage exceeded the contracted amount, there was no problem – you just paid for the extra consumption.

However, since the more power you contract the higher the standing charge, the electricity companies realised they were losing out on revenue, if customers hadn’t contracted for sufficient power for their needs.

The solution? Fit a limiter to the supply to restrict you to the amount of power contracted.

The result? Fuses blew every time a few appliances were running simultaneously and you exceeded the consumption you were paying for. With a kettle rated at 2 kW, a dishwasher at up to 1.5 kW and electric radiators at 1.15, as well as most electric tools at 1 kW or higher, it soon adds up. And don’t forget the ceramic hob, the fridge, the washing machine, TV, stereo, computer, etc. So, very few houses with a power supply of 1.75 k (the lowest), would now survive unscathed.

So, what’s the solution, if you find yourself in this position? Contract more power, of course. Easier said than done.

First of all, you may find that your meter box and meter door do not conform to the latest safety standards – so these need to be upgraded to an integral plastic box with a metal door. The hole in your wall will probably not be big enough, so you’ll need a builder to make it bigger and fit the door and an electrician to install the new módulo and connect it to your supply.

Next, because by increasing your power supply you are making a fundamental change, your entire system needs checking and a certificate of compliance issuing. Armed with this, and assuming there are no issues with your system, you have to apply for a boletín. This takes a couple of days.

Then you have to go to your electricity supplier, eg Endesa, Iberdrola, etc, and make a new contract for more power. This takes up to five days, after which they send an electrician to upgrade your power supply and fit the appropriate limiter. After this you should have no problems with fuses tripping out.

If you don’t do all this you could experience the problems outlined at the beginning of this article once the limiter is fitted, which is a legal requirement, by the way. We know houses with a supply of only 1.75 kW – they’re sure to have problems. Our rental house had 2.3 kW, but we’ve just upgraded to 5.75 to cover all eventualities.

The cost of all this? Well. The only thing that’s free is the fitting of the limiter. By the time you’ve paid for the inspection and paperwork, materials and labour you’ll be more than 300 euros poorer. Our bill came to 314€, but at least we know that our electricity supply is safe, legal and sufficient.

If anyone local needs this doing and feels daunted at the prospect and would like help, I know someone who can arrange it all for you. Give me a shout! Phone (+34) 636 52 75 16 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

© Paul Whitelock

Tags: electricity, electricity supply, power, potencia, kilowatt, kW, company, fuse, endesa, iberdrola, power rating, módulo, meter, boletín, limiter, paul whitelock, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,



0 #1 2012-04-01 06:50
I hear the news that in Spain have been having problems with their electricity supply over the last few year. Really bad news. electricity is important in every minute

Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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