Electricity for homes and small businesses will be charged by the hour from July 1st, which means that peak and off-peak rates will apply to everyone and not just those who have applied for the so-called ‘white tariff’ where costs differ throughout the day and night. All places which have a digital, remotely-managed meter will automatically be switched to the hourly charge system, and the cost of each day’s consumption appearing online from 8.15pm for consumers to check. Where a digital meter has not yet been fitted, the electricity company, Iberdrola, has until October 1st to do so. The hourly tariff will apply to all those with a power supply of less than 10kW.
The move will allow customers to calculate more easily which appliances use up more energy and to what extent, because they will be able to compare online what they use each day and relate it to the white goods, lights, and boilers they have had in use. This has come about after Spain’s ‘National Commission of Markets and Competition complained that the new meters, being rolled out across the country, did not allow customers to tell in real time how much electricity they were using, unless they literally sat in front of them all day.
The system will replace the quarterly ‘energy auctions’ which would affect rates for three months at a time and which has led to Spain’s electricity being amongst the most expensive in Europe. The key effect of axing the quarterly auctions is said to be a reduction of domestic power costs.