11 February 2011

More ICP Switch concerns



IBERDROLA ARE writing to their customers instructing them to fit an ICP (power control switch) or face being charged a higher electricity tariff. A Royal Decree (Order ITC/1.857/2008) passed on July 1st 2008 declared that by law all electrical installations must have a device for controlling the contracted power. In domestic dwellings that means an ICP must be fitted. I previously posted an article explaining the whys and what's, plus the costs involved.

The Iberdrola website is reasonably clear about the new requirements. Unfortunately, there has been some cases of “the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing” when it comes down to informing their staff about the new legislation. One of my customers visited the Iberdrola office in Pilar de Horadada only to asked if they could photocopy the article that I produced for the RTN newspaper so they could “check up on it”. 

Further to the FAQ's posted on the Iberdrola website, there is one useful piece of information they omitted; if you have a power limiter (ICP-A reenganche automatico) in your meter cupboard you may not need to fit the new ICP switch. These 'old' limiters are now obsolete, and can be easily identified by the manufacturers name, Lemag, on the front cover. The ICP-A was first introduced in 1980 (Mo de Industra Energia, 5 Mar 1980) and was fitted in meter cupboards up until the mid 90's (est.). One method to identify whether or not you have an ICP-A type power limiter fitted to your installation is; if you have a lot of appliances switched on at the same time and the electricity cuts off, but then comes back on automatically after few minutes like an Act of God without any 'tripping-out' in your Consumer Unit, then you have a remote power limiter, which should satisfy Iberdrola. 

In order to fit the new ICP (sometimes referred to as an ICP-M) you must have a standardised box. This maybe a dedicated compartment in your existing Consumer Unit, or a separate box mounted next to your Consumer Unit. In both cases, Iberdrola must be able to seal the box, ensuring the ICP is tamper proof. 

For properties with a digital meter, Iberdrola have no plans to use a power control facility incorporated with these meters, therefore they do not qualify as an ICP switch. A national plan to to replace all existing mechanical meters with digital meters in Spain by the end of 2018 has no bearing on ICP's. 

A possible consequence of installing an ICP is that insufficient power maybe contracted, if you need additional power you will need a new upgraded contract.

If you have not received a letter but want to find out if you need to have an ICP fitted, contact Iberdrola tel. 901 10 22 10, and quote your contract number on the top right-hand corner of your electricity bill.