Friday, January 15, 2010

Our electric rates go up

We got a wonderful letter from our electric company. It read something along the lines of:
Due to the establishment of the free market for electricity, we will be raising your rates. If you do nothing, we will automatically enroll you into the “tariff of last resort” and increase your rate each month until we reach the maximum rate allowed by law. You are free to change to another company.
“Free market” in Spain seems to mean “free to rip you off as much as possible” as opposed to “increased competition leading to lower prices”.

We phoned around a couple of the companies that could now take our business. The way it seems to work is that electricity is now sold by marketing companies, rather than by the distributer. Exactly what value these marketers add isn't clear to me.

One of the things that determines your rate is the peak kw that your house can consume, which is limited by the amps of the main breaker.

Naturally, the owner of our house had installed an industrial strength circuit breaker, but had told the electric company he had installed the smallest rated one. What are the consequences for having a circuit breaker with the wrong rating? Well, they might inspect you, and then raise your rates. Is there a fine? No. I’m not quite getting the downside...

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