How to save on the electricity bill after the rise in its price and with the January cost





January has not only brought the cold and snow storm Filomena, which has frozen temperatures, but also a significant increase in the price of electricity. Specifically, 27% more in the regulated rate price, going from € 13.24 per kilowatt / hour at the beginning of 2020 to € 16.81, in the first days of 2021, according to Facua.

The price of electricity registered its second highest level in history last Friday, with 95 euros per megawatt / hour (Mwh). After a slight drop on Sunday, this Monday, January 11, the trend is once again upward, with an average cost of 82.45 euros / MWh, especially marked in the time slot from 9pm to 10pm. And, on Tuesday, January 12, the MWh will rise again to 84.25 euros on average, according to data from the Iberian Electricity Market Operator (OMIE).

The main reason for this rise is due to the large increase in demand due to low temperatures and the greater use of diesel and coal for the production of electricity, to the detriment of renewable energies from the sun and wind, with greater scarcity due to adverse weather conditions, but cheaper and more sustainable.

This increase affects those households with an indexed rate, with operation regulated by the wholesale electricity market -similar to the Stock Exchange- and with different amounts every hour, which it will make the ‘January slope’ even more difficult for these families, which comprise 11 million people in Spain. According to Facua, the electricity bill for a standard home would exceed 80 euros per month, compared to 67 euros per month on average.

To know the type of electricity rate of the home, just check the contract data on the electricity bill. In cases where ‘PVPC rate’ or ‘regulated rate’ appears, the aforementioned rise in the price of electricity will affect.

Faced with this situation for many Spanish households, UCI (Union of Real Estate Loans), a specialist entity in sustainable housing finance, through its Green division, has prepared a guide with the keys to save on the electricity bill, regardless of the type of rate contracted, and thus help alleviate the ‘January cost’ of this 2021.

1. Natural light: make the most of all the hours of sunshine with the curtains and blinds open to let in natural light. Always turn off the light if it is not being used or is not strictly necessary.

2. LED bulbs: the type of light bulbs has a significant impact on the electricity bill. Betting on LEDs instead of incandescent ones means a saving of more than 80%, since they need much less energy to function and the amount of light they give is the same. In addition, they last much longer: on average 9 years, compared to a year and a half for traditional bulbs. Likewise, LED bulbs are more efficient and provide greater savings than halogen or low-consumption type bulbs.

Another good practice is to reduce the number of light bulbs per room, since in many cases a lamp has more than necessary or there are two light bulbs in a row. Some of these bulbs can be eliminated or, instead of two, use a single but more powerful one, which consumes less.

3. Savings practices in electronic devices: fully charge the battery and in airplane mode, do not leave electrical appliances in standby mode to reduce the bill by 10% a year or replace normal screens with LCDs to save up to 37% of energy are some saving tricks in the use of electronic devices.

4. Real vs contracted power: normally the contracted electrical power is greater than the real consumption need of a home, paying a higher cost than what is actually needed. Therefore, it is advisable to check the contracted electricity power, that is, the number of devices that can be plugged in at the same time without the power going out. How? Adding up the cost of all household electrical appliances and from this sum, hire the necessary power. Electric heating draws a lot of light and needs between 1,000 – 2,000W of power, although if it is low-consumption heating, it drops to 400-800W. The oven, washing machine and dishwasher are the appliances that need the most power, with 1,200–2,200W, 1,500W and 2,200W, respectively.

5. Time discrimination rate: both for homes with a regulated tariff or PVPC and for those that adjust their electricity bill according to the free market, it is possible to have the advantages of hourly discrimination. It is about concentrating a large part of electricity consumption (at least 30%) in a time slot that runs from 10 p.m. to 12 p.m. all year round and from 11 p.m. to 1 p.m. in summer. These would therefore be the best times to put the washing machine or dishwasher, cook or charge electronic devices, and avoid the normally more expensive hours (2 pm-5pm and 9 pm-10pm). In homes with a PVPC rate, it is better to concentrate electricity consumption on the weekend, which is usually cheaper.

6. Efficient use in electric heating: the higher the number of degrees, the more heating costs. On average, 7-11% of energy is saved for every degree less. The ideal temperature is around 19-21 degrees and it is recommended not to exceed 16 degrees at night. In addition, it is advisable to use automatic temperature regulation thermostats, as well as to wear clothes at home according to winter and not to have radiators in rooms that are not used regularly.

7. Good use of appliances in the kitchen: these devices represent a significant cost in the electricity bill and with small tricks you can reduce this amount:

· Do not abuse the use of the oven for cooking, as it is one of the most consumed electrical appliances. When it is used, do not open it several times because it loses temperature and uses more when having to heat up again.

· Take advantage of residual heat from the glass ceramic and the fire, turning it off a few minutes before the food is ready.

· Avoid opening and closing the refrigerator too frequently and keep it at a temperature of 5º for refrigeration and -18º for freezing.

· When washing clothes, putting the washing machine at a temperature between 40-60º implies a saving of 40%.

The weather situation and the pandemic are leading to spending much more time than usual at home, which will have an impact on household spending. So, incorporating these tricks will help reduce your electricity bill, make the ‘January slope’ more bearable and contribute to sustainability and energy efficiency to also benefit the planet.

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