Coronavirus confinement changes household energy consumption in Spain: here's how to save money

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
4 May 2020, Redaction

The obligation to remain confined to our homes since 15th March due to the state of alarm decreed by the Spanish Government has altered all of our daily habits, including consumption at home. This is not only due to a potentially longer shopping list, but also because of energy consumption at home. The OCU (Consumer and User Organisation) has warned that there has been an increase of 28% in household bills in Spain, which means 10 euros more for each family, on average.

Despite the overall reduction in energy consumption, due to the fall in consumption by industry and commerce, the price increase in household bills has risen during this period of confinement. The increased use of the oven, microwave, cooker, television and other electronic devices such as game consoles and computers, which remain switched on for longer periods of time, have changed consumption patterns. For the comparison site "nowadays, the demand is greater in the morning".

The portal offers some simple tips on how to save during confinement and also in general terms. According to their calculations, families could save up to 2,000 euros a year and, at the same time, look after the environment.

  • It may be time to renew old household appliances "Having efficient ones could save around 400 euros".
  • Wash clothes at 40 degrees instead of 60.
  • Adjust the temperature of the refrigerator, as well as avoiding unnecessarily opening the fridge door: every time it is opened, the fridge needs to recover its temperature, which can waste up to 7% of the accumulated energy.
  • Install tap aerators and showers that reduce consumption by half.
  • Opt for energy-saving light bulbs. To these you can also add technology such as intelligent and programmable bulbs with motion sensors. This saves energy and increases their lifespan.
  • Make sure you have proper insulation to avoid heat loss: this is a key point in any house and constitutes 30% of total household consumption.
  • Do without the oven and opt for other appliances such as the microwave (using about 60% less).
  • Adjust the temperature of the heating or turn it off.

The electricity company, Lucera, also explains how to read your electricity bill to find out if you are overpaying on your bill and how to save on energy.

  • Check the power but be careful. During the alarm period, the self-employed and companies that have reduced their activity can reduce the contracted power while the period confinement lasts. However, this is not the best time for households to reduce power because increased consumption at home can cause protection measures to be triggered more often by using too much equipment at the same time.
  • How to read the electricity bill and understand what you pay. It is normal if users find it hard to understand electricity bills, due to all the concepts it includes and the complicated terminology typical of the sector. The first thing to look at is what the rate is: 2.0A where the same price is paid all day for energy or 2.0DHA where from 1pm to 11pm it costs 10-15% more, and the rest of the time 50% less.
  • 90% of households could benefit from hourly discrimination (DHA) and could save between 5-8 euros/month (between 60 - 100 euros/year) without making any changes to their habits. A year could be a saving of 10-15%.
  • Analyse the prices offered by your provider. For this you must always analyse the tariffs, that is to say the price of the power and energy they offer. First of all, you must review at what price you are being charged for the power contracted, which is measured in euros/kW. Be careful with any price that is above the regulated cost (0.104229 euro/kW-day, 3.170298 euro/kW-month or 38.043585 euro/kW-year) as some companies add a commercial margin to these costs.

"We must understand that the price of energy can be fixed, for a year normally, or variable (indexed) which varies according to wholesale market prices and makes us save at the cost of greater variability in the amount of each bill. One detail: current market prices are the cheapest in the last 14 years. In April 2020 the price is 69.4% lower than April last year," says Emilio Bravo, the CEO of Lucera.

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