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This blog is intended to be helpful to English-speaking foreign residents in Spain by explaining "How to ... " do certain things. "The Crazy Guy" has lived in Spain full time since 2008. A fluent Spanish-speaker he reckons he knows his way round the bureaucracy, the indifference and sometimes downright rudeness of "funcionarios".

HOW TO ... solve electricity problems. Does your system blow a fuse from time to time?
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 @ 10:33 AM

There are still houses in the villages of the Serranía de Ronda (and possibly throughout Spain also) with antiquated electrical systems or with out-of-date fuse boxes. This means that if too many appliances are on at the same time, fuses can blow.

The Crazy Guy has experienced this first hand. Here he explains what you need to do to rectify the problem.

Many householders, especially in the villages, are still having problems with their electricity supply. It’s even worse in the winter when houses consume more “luz” than in the summer. As soon as they switch on the TV or put the oven on, the power trips out.

Why does this happen? And what can be done about it?

In Spain each property has a contract for a certain amount of power (potencia) expressed in kilowatt hours (kWh), the lowest being 1.75 kWh. In the past if your usage exceeded the contracted amount, there was no problem – you were simply charged 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. So they decided to fit limiters to the domestic supply in order to restrict consumers to the amount of power contracted. The result? Fuses blew every time your consumprtion exceeded what you were paying for.

With a kettle rated at 2 kWh, electric radiators at 1.15 and a ceramic hob at 225 kWh per annum , not to mention fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, TVs, stereo, computers, etc., it’s not rocket science to realise that 1.75 is totally inadequate in the modern age.

So, what’s the solution? Contract more power. Easier said than done.

  1. You need a boletín to prove that your electrical system conforms to the latest standards. So an approved electrician has to inspect your installation. The boletín has to be sent to Málaga.
  2. You’ll need a new integrated plastic meter box in an outside wall with a metal door.
  3. When that’s done and you’ve had your boletín back, you need to make a new contract with a provider (eg. Endesa, Iberdola, EON. I am with Serranía Eléctrica in Ronda, because you can ring them and speak to somebody or you can attend their office without an appointment and deal with them face-to-face).
  4. Once this has all been cleared and approved, they will send an electrician to upgrade your supply if necessary and fit the appropriate limiter.

We know houses that still only have 1.75 contracted power. They’re going to have a problem once the limiter is fitted.

Our vivienda rural had 2.3 but we’ve upgraded to 5.75 to cover all eventualities. We didn’t want to have problems with blown fuses whenever guests plugged the kettle in!

The total bill for all this work is quite high: boletín, materials and labour. Our bill came to:

Builder                  50

Materials             150

Electrician             50

Boletín                100

Total                   350€

 

But at least we now have peace of mind - we know that our supply is safe, legal and adequate.



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