Did you know that the contracted electrical power can account for 30% of the electricity bill? Learn to calculate the power you need, and reduce it to save.
In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about the rise of light. Electricity producers do not have a fixed price, but it varies depending on supply and demand. If there is a time when there is little light (for example, there is no rain or wind and the wind and hydroelectric plants produce less), and there is a lot of demand, as in winter, the price of electricity rises. This is because electricity cannot be stored, beyond a few days and in small amounts, through batteries.
But this variable price of electricity barely represents 37% of the bill. The rest are taxes, equipment rentals, and the contracted power. This rate, which is chosen by the consumer, can mean up to 40% of the cost of electricity, as we can see in this invoice:
Of the €114.72 of this invoice more than 30%, €42.54belong to the billed powerwhich does not depend on consumption. It’s a charge you have to pay even if you don’t use electricity.
What is the contracted / billed power? How can we change it to save on the electricity bill?
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What is the contracted power
Electronic devices need a certain electrical power to function, measured in Watts (W) or Kilowatts (KW). But its consumption, the electrical cost, depends on the time of use. Using a stove for five minutes is not the same as four hours. That’s why Electricity consumption is measured in Kilowatts – hours, (KWh), which is the electricity needed to power a 1 kW device for one hour.
husually many appliances are used at the same time. In normal that the TV, the computer, the refrigerator, and several lights are in operation.
The electrical installation must be capable of powering several household appliances at the same time. It is what is known by the name of hired potency: the maximum power you can use at the same time.
Imagine that you have a contracted power of 3.45 kW. One kW is 1000 watts. Therefore, the maximum power of your installation are 3450W. if you have on 10 bulbs of 26 W that add up 260W, so your installation can handle it. But if at the same time you light the ovenwhich consumes 1200Wand the washing-machine that can reach the 2000Win total they add up. 600 + 1200 + 2000 = 3800W. That exceeds the contracted power, 3450W. What will happen? The leads will jump and the light will go out. It must have happened to you more than once.
The solution seems simple: if you increase the contracted power, you will avoid the problem. And it’s true, but to morehired potency, the more the electricity bill goes up. Even if you do not consume electricity, because the contracted power is a fixed one that you always pay. Let’s see how to reduce it to save on the electricity bill.
What devices in my home consume more electricity and how to avoid it
How much does it cost?
Thehired potencythe client chooses it, and appears on all invoices. We have already seen that the more contracted power you have, you will be able to use more electronic devices at the same time, but it will also cost you more money.
There are different established powers that you can hire, and they are the same for all power companies:
- Contracted power 1.15 kW
- Contracted power 2.3kW
- Contracted power 3.45kW
- Contracted power 4.6kW
- Contracted power 5.75kW
- Contracted power 6.9kW
- Contracted power 8.05kW
- Contracted power 9.2kW
- Contracted power more than 10 kW
An apartment without air conditioning where many electrical appliances are not used is sufficient with a power of 3.45 kW. If you use air conditioning or several powerful appliances at the same time, it is normal to hire 4.6 or 5.75 kW.
Every day you must pay a certain amount forthe contracted powerwhich depends on the price per KW at each moment, and that varies according to the type of contract with your operator or the price of electricity. Suppose we have a contracted power of 6.5KW. On my March 2017 bill, every day I have to pay €0.103944 for each KW. That is, 6.5 x €0.103944 = €0.675636 per day. In a month the rate amounts to 30 days x €0.675636 = €20.26. A payment that you must make even if you are on vacation and do not consume electricity.
What happens if we lower the programmed power to 3.45KW? The monthly rate will have dropped to 3.45 KW x €0.103944 x 30 days = €10.75. Every month you would save €10 on your electricity bill, regardless of consumption. You just have to be more careful not to connect too many powerful appliances at the same time.
The appliances that need the most power
The reality is that few electronic devices need a lot of power for a long time. Those that produce a lot of cold or a lot of heat spend more. These are some of the most demanding:
|ELECTRONICS DEVICES||Required power|
|Fridge||250 – 400W|
|Washing machine||1500 – 2500W|
|Dishwasher||1500 – 2000W|
|oven and hob||900 – 4000 W (oven and vitro at the same time)|
|small electrical appliances||150 – 900W|
|Microwave||750 – 1500W|
|Lightning||10 – 100W per bulb|
|TV||100 – 450W|
|Computer||25 – 300W|
|Air-conditioning||900 – 2000W|
|Electric heating||400 – 2500 W (depending on whether or not it is low consumption)|
Simply by being careful not to use the oven and the washing machine at the same time, or the dishwasher and the air conditioning, you will be able to reduce contracted power and save on electricity bill without giving up anything.
Calculate the power you need
The contracted power appears on your electricity bill. If the leads have never jumped, it is that you possibly have more than you need.
We must calculate it. For this you have to do a list of electronic devices that we use at home, or in our business. It is important to write down all of them, including light bulbs and devices such as speakers, players, alarm clocks, etc.
Next you must discover How much does each of them consume?. It is a value, measured in W or kW, that appears on a sticker on the device itself, or in the instruction manual:
The last step is add up all the electronic devices you could use at the same time. Add up all the lights, and the devices that are always connected, such as the fridge, the computer (take into account the tower, the monitor, the peripherals) or the air conditioning in summer. Then add powerful appliances that you could connect at the same time: the oven and the microwave, the dishwasher and the washing machine, even the oven, the washing machine and the dishwasher, in a moment of madness… Add 10% for the standby and another 10% safety margin. that will be your secure contracted power. A maximum that will allow you to use almost all electrical appliances at the same time, without the leads jumping. If you don’t know how to calculate it, there are power calculators. Or you can ask an electrician.
Now we propose avoid the most powerful devices at the same time. Never run the oven, dishwasher, washing machine or air conditioning at the same time. Using only one of them, leave the most powerful one in the list you have made and remove the rest that you are not going to use at the same time. You will see how the necessary power drops a lot. You may be surprised, and discover that you have a much higher contracted power than you need…
We can even assume that sometime we will go overpower and the leads will jump. Simply turn off an appliance and reconnect the light. For each section of hired potency that you download you will save between €5 and €8 per month. That is more than €60 a year.
How much do the appliances consume on standby?
Time to call the power company
To change the power you have to call your electric company. Both raising and lowering the contracted power has a cost, and in some cases you can only change it once a year. So think about it because then you will have to live with it for 12 months.
- You must call the company the owner of the installation. ID is required
- They will ask you for the Universal Supply Point Code (CUPS), which appears on all your electricity bills
- The cost of lowering the power is €11 (no matter how much you lower it). Upgrading the power costs €45 per kW
- The change can take a maximum of 78 days (normal is 15 or 20 days)
- Some companies allow you to complete the process online.
As you see, lowering the power is cheap but raising it is expensive. Going down from 6.9 to 3.45 kW costs €11, but going up from 3.45 to 6.9 kW costs 45 x 3 kW = €135. Therefore, do not lower it too much because if you go too far and the leads jump frequently, then you will have to pay a lot to return to where you were.
As you can see lower the contracted power allows you to save more than €60 a year for each section. It is worth doing the power calculation you need, even if you have to pay an electrician to calculate it for you.
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