How the electric companies cheat us on our bills


Only 11% of consumers fully understand their electricity bill. Many users are unaware, for example, if they are on the free or regulated market, among other things, because the utilities themselves have been encouraging this confusion for years. Or they tell us from the OCU.

Nor do all customers know that the invoice pays for services to two companies, the distributor and the marketer. How do you have to pay two companies? Yes, now you are going to see how they have it set up.

The marketer charges what is properly the cost of the energy, while tolls and charges are paid to the distributor, even though the rate includes all items. And of course, there are the majority of those who are not clear about what the concepts that are included in the invoice mean.

The electricity bill is made up of two main concepts: a fixed cost for having electricity, which is paid for each kW of contracted power, and, on the other hand, the cost of the electricity consumed in the different time slots that our rate has.

Let’s see, quickly, what two electricity bills we can receive in our mailbox depending on whether we are in the free market or in the regulated one. Without further ado, we are going to explain both in order to understand them and understand if they are not cheating in some way.

Electricity bill

The electricity bill in the free market

The OCU explains that the invoices of the free market do not conform to a specific model, but a series of concepts that must necessarily appear. We take one of them as a reference to decipher the concepts that include:

  1. Name. If you don’t know if you are in the free or regulated market, look at the name of the company: if it is Iberdrola Clientes, Endesa Energía, Naturgy, Repsol, TotalEnergies… you are in the free market.
  2. Power. It is essential to know what peak and valley power (now you can choose different powers) you have contracted. You will also be able to see the contracted power in the details that you are billed.
  3. Billing period. It includes the old date and the new closing date. The billing period is usually monthly or bimonthly, but the specific days can vary from one invoice to another.
  4. Invoice Number. It is relevant information that will help you identify the invoice if you have to claim.
  5. Evolution of consumption. All invoices in the free market must include at least one graph that allows you to compare the consumption of the last invoice with the consumption in the same period of the previous year. This invoice includes the graph with the history of monthly consumption and other additional information.
  6. Hourly consumption details. The meter records consumption hour by hour, day by day. This information is available on the distributor’s website. Among the information that must appear on the bill is the identification of the distributor and the website where you can register to monitor your consumption.
  7. Billed power. This is the fixed term that is paid based on the peak and valley power that has been contracted. The price of the power is usual to appear detailed with a daily price.
  8. Billed energy. The invoice must include the kWh consumed and the total price. Nor do they have the obligation to detail the cost of each of the concepts. In this reference invoice, a single price is applied for 24 hours.
  9. electricity tax, It is usually 5.1127%, but temporarily, due to the energy crisis, it has been reduced to 0.5%, as the invoice should indicate.

With all these concepts, you should now be able to interpret your bill and check if you have been overcharged, either because the rate is higher than the real one or because you have been assigned a higher billed consumption than you have actually used.

light bill

The electricity bill in the regulated market

  1. Name of the company. It is the key to know if you are in the free or regulated market.
  2. invoice number. This number will help to correctly identify the amounts claimed if you are going to file a billing claim.
  3. Consumption period. It must be monthly, except for exceptions (adjustments of late consumption, rate changes, analog meter…).
  4. Transportation and distribution toll. All contracts of less than 15 kW (both in the free and regulated market) are with the 2.0TD rate.
  5. Hired potency. Currently it is possible to have 2 contracted powers, one for the peak period and one for the valley, and both will be displayed here. Adjusting the power well to your needs is one of the measures to reduce the bill.
  6. Power consumption information: the graph shows your consumption of the last 14 months in each time slot. The color keys indicate whether they are real or estimated consumption. The black line shows your average monthly consumption.
  7. current reading. With an indication of whether it is real or estimated. Only the current reading is displayed. To see the previous reading and verify that the consumption is correct, you must consult the invoice of the last month.
  8. Consumption in each hourly section. Next to each meter reading appears the billed consumption for that period during peak, flat and off-peak hours.
Time zone electricity bill valley hour

With this information on the electricity bill of the regulated market, you will already it will be easier to know if your electric is deceiving you with unrealistic consumption or with false and inflated electricity prices.

Despite everything, we know that it is not easy and companies will always try to ensure that the client does not understand their invoices, since it is easier to deceive the less informed client. Or so they have been denouncing from the OCU for years.