Power cuts caused by new Smart Meters will be a major concern in coming months
SPARKS RECENTLY had an emergency call out from a client who had suddenly experienced a power cut in their holiday home on an urbanisación in Torre-La Mata. He had checked his consumer unit and discovered everything was switched on. Then he contacted Iberdrola to check the status on his account, to be told that it was perfectly in order. Iberdrola suggested contacting an electrician as there obviously was a technical problem.
Iberdrola are engaged in a nationwide Smart Grid improvement programme and are currently replacing all the traditional electricity meters across Torrevieja with Smart Meters. The new electricity meters have an integral kill switch which automatically disconnects the electricity if you exceed the amount of power that you are allowed. The kill switch or power limiter, known as an ICP, was previously a manually operated switch fitted in the consumer unit and easily accessible within the property. The new automatic ICP is now housed inside the new Smart Meter which is located in the meter cupboard outside the property, sometimes inaccessible. Some property owners don’t know where their electricity meter is located.
There are twelve different types of approved Smart Meters that provide two different methods of restoring the electricity in the event of a power cut caused by consumer overload. One type has a green reset button on the meter and must be pushed to restore the electricity. The second type is reset by switching the main switch off at the consumer unit for ten seconds, then switching it back on.
What this means is that it will become a major concern for a lot of property owners whose meter cupboards are generally locked and denied immediate access.
To avoid being caught out, ensure that you are contracted for a sufficient amount of power with Iberdrola. Properties aged over 10 years that are on the old standard 3.3 kW tariff should consider upgrading to help avoid nuisance power cuts. An average sized dwelling will generally need a minimum tariff of 5.75 kW. As a guide, you can find out how much power you need using the Iberdrola Power Calculator, click here.
If someone has illegally upgraded or by-passed the ICP in the consumer unit, inevitably you will experience power cuts once Iberdrola fit your Smart Meter. For an upgrade to be legitimate a boletin (electrical installation certificate) must be issued and submitted to Iberdrola.