Frequently asked questions – what is an ICP?

Frequently asked questions – what is an ICP?

By on Jun 10, 2013 in Iberdrola | 7 comments


An ICP is a kill switch for controlling your electricity supply, also known as an Interrupter Control de Potencia or Power Control Switch (PCS). The ICP limits the amount of electricity available to the user to the amount stated on the electricity contract, the contracted power supply.

What is my contracted power supply?

This is the amount of electric power that you agreed to and signed up for with Iberdrola when you moved into your property. The amount is stated on your electricity bill and electricity contract, found next to “Potencia Contratada” stated in kilowatts (kW).

Why must I have an ICP?

Royal Decree 1454/2005 and the order ITC 1559/2010 declared it mandatory that all domestic installations less than 15 kW must have a device for controlling the contracted power.

Where is the ICP?

The ICP is incorporated in your Smart Meter. These are becoming operational as Iberdola replace all the traditional electricity meters across the region.

The old manual (ICP-M) housed in the consumer unit, and the automatic (ICP-A) housed in the meter cupboard, will be redundant once the Smart Meter is fitted.

Do I have access to the ICP?

No, it’s inside the Smart Meter.

Old ICP(M)



What are the implications of having a Smart Meter fitted?

A possible consequence of fitting a Smart Meter is that insufficient power maybe contracted. This is evident when several appliances are switched on at the same time and the power overloads the system and the ICP trips out. If you require additional power once the ICP has been fitted it will be necessary to arrange an upgrade the electricity supply.

ICP in Smart Meters

New Smart Meter

The new ICPs are becoming operational as Iberdrola replace the traditional electricity meters.  A possible consequence of having a Smart Meter fitted is that the contracted power supply maybe insufficient and it causes power cuts.


  1. I am holiday in Spain at the moment with my family in a lovely rented villa. I am an English electrician. We lost all power last night a few tes so of course I had to have a nose. I’d never heard of ICP switches but I have now! Luckily ours is auto resetting in the outside meter box but it had me for a while as I assumed a local power cut. I am still a little confused as it seems if we use the oven the ICP will trip without affecting any breakers or RCD. I am assuming a fault on the oven as nothing else is running! Why the ICP and not the MCB? Is the contracted power less than the oven? Three days to go be nice to use the oven!

    Andy seffens

    August 12, 2015

  2. In a block of flats with multiple smart meters in cupboard on ground floor is there an isolating fuse or switch to isolate supply to an individual flat to replace a fuse board.?


    February 13, 2017

  3. Yes, generally in a switch room you will find a panel with a clear plastic panel mounted below your smart meter. Behind the panel are fuses and neutral links mounted on buss bars for each apartment. Regards

    Tony Poole

    February 14, 2017

  4. What I do not understand, why they have the Contracted Power in the first place. I understand to compare the UK to Spain is disingenuous. In the UK there is a fixed standing charge (although I believe some suppliers waver that) Domestic house holds have a 100A cut out (Flat are usually 60/80A) and you are billed on the basis of the more you use the more you pay. (I’m not suggesting that this should be the case in Spain) but the principle of what you consume is what you pay not a contracted supply. It strike me that it is just a mechanism for the supply companies to avoid paying up to up grade their supply cables infrastructure.
    I would be interesting to know how many people have been injured or perhaps killed because the smart meters which are far more sensitive than the older ICP have tripped out leaving in many cases older people (Many have older and lower rated contracted power contracts) in the dark. The resetting of the mart meter is not a issue I have had a problem with in our flat you just witch the main breaker off and on. My issue is not with mart meter but the contracted power isue.

    Andrew Smith

    September 15, 2021

    • The Contracted Power in Spain and Standing Charge in the UK are basically the same thing. It’s the cost of getting the electricity from generation to the user.

      The UK has far better electrical distribution infrastructure than Spain and generally offers a basic supply at around 13 kW (60 Amps), far more than Spain. If a property in the UK requires additional power you will pay more, hence it is a Contracted Power Supply just different terminology. Here on the Costa Blanca, the basic Contracted Power Supply in a new domestic dwelling is 5.75 kW (25A). Prior to 2002 it was only 3.3 kW (15A). The Contracted Power does not effect or include the consumption charges.

      Power supply requirements on properties may differ depending on power usage. For example, some homes will use gas appliances and won’t require their contracted power to be too high compared to a property completely reliant on electricity. So you set up your Contracted Power Supply to suit your requirements. As you pay per kW it is most cost effective to contract only what you require.

      Tony Poole

      September 16, 2021

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