What is the new hourly billing system?

Bills will be calculated by applying the wholesale electricity market's hourly energy price to actual hourly consumption.

The hourly billing system will enable consumers to take advantage of low electricity price time bands (typically during weekends or at night, when there is less demand) to save on their bills.

When does the system come into force?

The new hourly billing system for electricity came into force on Thursday, 1 October.

Who can benefit from it?

You will need to meet the following requirements before you can switch over to the hourly billing system:

-         You must be a domestic consumer or a small or medium-sized business consumer with a contracted power supply of up to 10 kW.

-         You must have a Voluntary Price for the Small Consumer (VPSC) rate.

-         You must have a smart electricity meter.

-         Your meter must be integrated into the grid and have the capacity for remote measuring.

What is a smart meter integrated into a remote management system?

A smart meter is a digital meter that enables hourly discrimination and remote management.

If it is integrated into the remote management system this means it records the remote reading of a user's hourly consumption, so sparing the user the need to supply the company with the reading.

How can you tell if you have a smart meter?

Your electricity bill states the type of meter you have and whether or not it is integrated into the remote management system if it is digital.

What will bills be like?

The new bills will be monthly (customers who already had VPSC already had monthly billing).

As VPSC bills are regulated in their content, they will look much the same, with the following changed features:

The contract details section on the first sheet will state:

-         That the customer has an integrated smart meter.

-         That the customer is billed according to actual hourly consumption.

How will you be able to know what the electricity prices are and the times when they are at their highest?

Consumers will be able to know in advance the times when prices are generally higher and, from the day before, the precise hourly price of electricity, which will be published every day on the Spanish Electricity Grid's portal ( Rates will be updated every day from around 8.15 pm and valid until the following day at the same time.

The cheapest times are when electricity is in least demand, generally from 11 pm to 7 am and during weekends, and most expensive from 8 am to 12 pm and from 8 pm to 11 pm during the week.

 However, the holder of the contract will be able to consult their consumption curve, through their electricity distributor, for an already billed period.

In what other ways is the new billing system different?

It will no longer feature estimated readings and it is expected to be free of billing errors.

Billing will be adapted to consumers' actual consumption habits.

What happens if you do not meet the requirements?

The current model, based on an average consumer profile, will continue to apply if you have a VPSC rate, or the terms and conditions agreed if you have a free-market rate.

Customers without smart meters integrated into a remote management system will continue receiving bimonthly bills.

 When will it affect all the consumers who have VPSC?

From 2018 on, when the minister expects the 27 million meters operating throughout the Spanish State to have been upgraded. 

Meter changes are mandatory for both consumers and suppliers and must be carried out before 31 December 2018 under Ministerial Order IET/290/2012, of 16 February 2012.

Distributors are currently changing meters for free.