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Spain, like the rest of Europe including the UK has a nominal mains electricity supply of 230 volts AC at 50Hz, This means, in general that appliances bought in the UK will work in Spain and vice versa. The only difference is that you may notice items such as kettles and toasters may well take longer to heat. As in the UK the actual voltage normally runs at 240 volts, whereas in Spain it is usually well under, and can sometimes be as low as 206 Volts.
Many houses have no earth installed and therefore always give risk of electrical shock.
Many old town houses still have electrical systems operating on bell wire (very thin low current, low load cable). There is a high risk of fire and can be extremely dangerous when installing modern appliances such as Dish washers, Tumble dryers etc into such an antiquated system.
On the Costa Blanca, electricity is supplied by Iberdrola. Your bill will consist of various items, including (obviously) a charge for units consumed and also a standing charge. This standing charge will vary depending on the capacity ("potencia") that your contract allows, and which is controlled by a trip in your main circuit breaker box.
Common potencias are 3.3Kw, 5.5Kw and 8.8Kw. The higher your allowance, the higher the standing charge you pay.
Within the individual property’s fuse box there are normally various circuit breakers (trips) for various sections of your wiring fitted. There should also be an RCD (Residual Current Device) which will trip in the event of any current leakage, thus preventing the risk of electrocution.
Here in Spain there is no ring main as installed in the UK; everything is fed in the form of stub circuits.(a separate power source for each circuit) Although earth is normally green with yellow stripes, there colour code for line and neutral are not always consistent. Quite often the switches for things such as lights and appliances are often placed on the neutral side, and the device itself may often still be "live" even though switched off.
This year every household in Spain will be receiving a letter from their electricity supplier whether it be Iberdrola, Endesa or any other supply company. The letter will be informing you of the requirement to fit an ICP (Interruptor de control de potencia) switch or power control switch. These new switches come in various loadings to suit all different individual home requirements and are fitted in or close to your electrical junction box. Each house is contracted with the supplier to have a certain amount of power; the ICP device will cut the power every time you go over that limit.
Once the new ICP switch is fitted the installation is checked and then sealed by the electrical supplier. This new device will limit your household power consumption to the new rate that you have contracted.
La Safor Workshop's qualified electricians will correctly install the new ICP device ready for inspection and certification by your contracted electrical supplier.
Please do not attempt to tamper with Spanish electrical systems unless you have prior experience or you may suffer serious consequences.
If you have any doubts for peace of mind please contact La Safor Workshop straight away, our advice is free.
Domestic Supply and Wiring
The Power Supply