02 August 2010

The ICP in plain English

IBERDROLA ARE writing to their customers to instruct them to fit an ICP (Interrupter de Control de Potencia) switch. Law passed by Royal Decree states every home should have.

The postie is appearing with circulars and recorded letters from those nice people at Iberdrola informing their customers to fit an ICP within 20 days or be charged a higher rate for electricity (equivalent to a 10 or 20 kW tariff depending on your current contracted supply tariff). The Royal Decree passed on July 1st 2008 declared that electrical installations must have a device for controlling the contracted power. In a domestic dwelling that means an ICP must be fitted. It is mandatory for all homes contracted for 15 kW or less.

sealed ICP
So what is an ICP? For the purpose of the Royal Decree, Iberdrola are using the ICP primarily as a power limiter rather than a safety device. The switch disconnects the electricity supply when the power demanded by the total number of appliances switched exceed the contracted power supply. If this occurs frequently, it indicates that insufficient power has been contracted. The ICP is fitted alongside the Interruptor General Automatico (IGA) in your Consumer Unit housed in a dedicated separate compartment called an ICP standardised box. The ICP functions in exactly the same way as the Interrupter General, however, the ICP must be sealed by Iberdrola, ensuring it is tamper proof.

It's a bit hit and miss whether you have an ICP already fitted or not. If your property is less than 10 years old you probably have one. You may have the standardised ICP compartment already in your existing Consumer Unit box, but without an ICP fitted in it. Or the compartment maybe housing a different switch, in which case it should be replaced with an ICP. In the event of the said ICP standardised compartment not being fitted you will have to arrange for a box to be installed by an approved electrician in addition to the ICP. Once the ICP is fitted Iberdrola should be contacted to arrange an inspection and seal the ICP.

Iberdrola charge €9.04 for the inspection and sealing of the ICP. A rental option is also available from €0.03 cents per month, depending on the type of installation, and still requires the inspection and sealing charge. These amounts will be charged directly to your electricity bill. The prices exclude IVA.

If you are unsure whether or not you need to have an ICP fitted contact Iberdrola on 902 10 22 10 quoting your contract number and ask them.

PS. If you have had a new digital Smart Meter fitted in your meter cupboard, the ICP is incorporated in the meter.