Main gas is available in major cities only in Spain, although with the recent piping of gas from North Africa (Algeria and Libya) it may soon be more widely available. When moving into a property with mains gas, you must contact the local gas company to have the gas switched on, the meter read and to sign a supply contract. As with electricity, you're billed every two months and bills include VAT (IVA) at 16 per cent.
In some areas of Spain, gas bottles (bombonas) are delivered to homes by Repsol Butano (the company responsible for distributing gas bottles), for which a contract is required ; or a truck will be passing by each neighbourhood at specific times and days, and you just go to ask for a bottle. In Repsol petrol station there is always a supply of bottles too. Older properties require usually to have a maintenance contract.
Endesa (http://www.endesa.es) is the national electric company (phone number for Endesa customer service is 902 509 509 and they have got English speaking staff).
The electricity supply in most of Spain is 220 volts AC with a frequency of 50 hertz (cycles). However, some areas still have a 110 volt supply and it's even possible to find dual voltage 110 and 220 volt systems in the same house or the same room!
You might have to buy transformers. They have to be capable of handling the wattage of the appliance or else it will overheat and you might ruin the appliance.
Power cuts are frequent in many areas of Spain. When it rains heavily the electricity supply often becomes very unstable, with frequent power cuts lasting from a few micro seconds (just long enough to crash a computer) to a few hours or even a number of days. Note that in many urbanizations, water is provided by an electric pump and therefore if your electricity supply is cut off, so is your water supply.
Electricity bills are sent out every two months, usually after meters have been read. However, electricity companies are permitted to make an estimate of your consumption every second period without reading the meter. The most important figures on bills (which have recently been made more consumer friendly) are:
Item Description POTEN standing charge (potencia)
L. ANT./LEC. ANT. previous meter reading (lectura anterior)L. ACT./LEC. ACT. current meter reading (lectura actual)ESTIMADA estimated reading (this will replace L. ACT./LEC. ACT. when your meter hasn't been read)CONSUMO number of kW consumed during the period ENERG energy (energía) consumption (kW) multiplied by the charge per kW and the totalALQUILER/EQUIPOS MEDIDA meter rental chargePER the period of the billIVA VAT at 16 per centFECHA DE FACTURA date of bill
TOTAL (A PAGAR) the total to pay
It's advisable to pay all your utility bills by direct debit (transferencia) from a Spanish bank account.
For setting up a contract you need to bring to the Endesa local office:
A technician will then pass by the property between one to five working days counting from the following day of the setting up, calling the contact person to inform of the day and time to set up the meter, as somebody needs to be in the apartment.
Water is a local matter in Spain and is usually controlled by local municipalities, many of which have their own wells. In some municipalities, water distribution is the responsibility of a private company. The cost of connection to the local water supply for a new home varies considerably from around 60 € up to 450 € (when a private company controls the distribution). In most municipalities there's a standing quarterly charge or a monthly charge for a minimum consumption (canón de consumo), e.g. 14 cubic meters a month or 6 € a month plus IVA at 7%, even if you don't use any water during the billing period.
To set up the connection, the documents to bring to the local water offices will be the same, as for electricity, also an old water bill for second hand properties. Supply will be given between 24 to 48 hours to count from the contract setting up date.
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