Moving in : Madrid


Gas, Electricity, Water in Madrid


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Gas

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.

Electricity

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 total
ALQUILER/EQUIPOS MEDIDA meter rental charge
PER the period of the bill
IVA VAT at 16 per cent
FECHA 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:

  • copy of NIE (número de identificación de extranjero),
  • copy of Deeds or rental contract,
  • details for the direct debit and contact person,
  • and in the case of second hand properties an old electricity bill to show the contract number for the change of holder.

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

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.

Update 13/06/2007



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 Comments

 Tetere

12/06/2007

information for "gas, water & electricity" in
This is information for "gas, water & electricity" in Spain:

1)Gas: In villages there will not be gas pipes mainly, and main cities are working now on a gas pipe network, only it is slow work as it means cutting off streets, etc. The Butano gas bottles are not actually delivered at home, but a truck will do the round of the town, passing by each neighbourhood at specific times and days, and you just lean on your window and call out your needs or go downstairs to ask for a bottle. The man will get it to your apartment for you and pick the empty one, and after paying him it is customary to give him a tip, like twenty or fifty cents. In Repsol petrol station there is always a supply of bottles for those who can't be at home when the gas man passes by. Always remember to keep the bottles, full or empty, in a secure place and never under the sun.

New properties have usually everything electric. But older properties, when changing hands, need to have the gas installation checked out by a technician from Repsol and then you can establish a maintenance contract with them. By law, apart from being in perfect working order, there must be a grill near the ceiling and another at floor level to allow air circulation, plus the boiler has to have a pipe on the top leading to the outside. Failing any of this, the technician will refuse to give a certificate, so no maintenance contract can't be drawn, plus the natural danger of letting the fumes accumulate in the room.


2)Electricity: the phone number for Endesa customer service is 902 509 509 and they have got English speaking staff. New rules dictate that the main switchcase has to have a power control device installed, which is to the cost of the contract holder, therefore right now all old properties are being checked by technicians as most of them don't have this. The Endesa technician will bring the device when doing the inspection and if asked install it. Also, a new regulation has come out by which the direct debit bank account holder can only be the contract holder: therefore, for rented apartments, either the contract is changed to the tenant (having to pay again for the service) and then they can give their bank details; or the contract stays in the name of the owner, the direct debit is cancelled and the tenant pays physically at the bank; or else the owner pays for the bill and then claims the amount to the tenant.

For setting up a contract you need to bring to the Endesa local office: copy of NIE, copy of Deeds or rental contract and details for the direct debit and contact person, and in the case of second hand properties an old electricity bill to show the contract number for the change of holder. 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.


3)Water: if buying a new property (especially if it is a villa or townhouse) ask if the conecction between the main pipe and the supply pipe leading to the house has been made by the developer, otherwise the owner must run with the costs. The documents to bring to the local water offices will be the same, 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. Remember that the main supply key inside the apartment might be turned off for security reasons, check it is on before calling a plumber or the water office to ask why is there no supply.

Ask if the bills can be posted to your usual address instead of to the apartment. Also, Endesa has got web access for bills, you just need to register. And keep your bank account topped up to meet the bills or the supply will be cut off inmediately, also when there are unpaid bills they must be paid at the bank, and the direct debit details need to be given again because they get deleted from the file.

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