Smart Meters prevent Illegal Power Upgrades
UPGRADING A power supply is required when you need more electricity than you are contracted for with Iberdrola. This is evident when the electricity supply constantly cuts off when using appliances. This is caused by having too many switched on at the same time, and it causes an overload to the system. The overload indicates the amount of electrical power required to work all the appliances is insufficient for the consumption requirements of the user. Hence an upgrade is needed to increase the contracted power supply.
The contracted power supply (potencia contratada) is stated in kilowatts (kW) on your contract and electricity bill. It is the amount of electrical power that you agree and sign up for with Iberdrola when moving in to a property. It is the maximum amount of power you are allowed under the terms and conditions of the contract. The contracted power supply is limited by a kill switch called an Interrupter de Control de Potencia (ICP).
Properties with a contracted power supply of 3.3 kW or less are generally those which upgrading. The ICP trips out when the appliances used total more than 3300 Watts. It becomes impossible to use the oven and washing machine together because they are both are high powered appliances. Running a modern day home with only 3.3 kW available is practically impossible, and those who do, have to supplement gas appliances for cooking, heating and hot water production.
The new generation of electricity meters, called Smart Meters, currently being fitted by Iberdrola across Alicante and Murcia are fitted with an automatic ICP. When fully operational, Smart Meters will control electricity consumption and other operations remotely via a state-of-the-art communications system. Their introduction prevents the malpractice of illegal electricity upgrades. A possible consequence of having a Smart Meter fitted is it causes power cuts because insufficient electrical power has been contracted.
An illegal upgrade is one where the current manual type ICP has been subject to tampering. It will have been disconnected, by-passed or changed without authorisation from the electricity supplier. This is normally evident by the approved seal being removed or tampered with. To legally upgrade an electricity supply an electrician must be employed to produce a boletin (electrical installation certificate).
All across Spain, traditional electricity meters are being replaced with Smart Meters. The region of Murcia was due to be completed by the end of 2012, and the region of Alicante is scheduled to have them replaced by the end of 2013.
Illegal upgrades will soon be a thing of the past.