07 March 2012

What to do if you have been cut off

THE CONSEQUENCES of not paying your electricity bill can seem worse than root canal work by Dr. Christian Szell in Marathon Man. And it’s no safe bet to blame the bank, even if it is their fault. If Iberdrola don’t receive their wonga they are about as unsympathetic as the jury in the Rudolph Hess Nazi war crimes trial. 

Maybe you forgot to pay the electricity bill, maybe your bank did not pay the direct debit, or perhaps you haven’t got a clue why you have been cut off. Whatever the reason, Sparks can help you get reconnected. It always makes sense to review your electricity bill every month and check that it gets paid. Do not presume that the bank is taking care of business because you have an arrangement for a direct debit. Banks can make mistakes, and unfortunately you will suffer the consequences.

The first thing to do is to ensure that any outstanding debt on the account is cleared, if you have problems dealing with Iberdrola, Sparks can help you out, then we can begin the process of reconnection.

Once a work order has been given to disconnect an electricity supply, it is standard policy for Iberdrola to remove the electricity meter, most of the time without any notification before or after the disconnection. Normally the first time a tenant or home owner discovers that their electricity has been cut off is when they unsuspectingly arrive at the property to be greeted by a little red sticker in their meter cupboard where the meter once resided. The removal of the electricity meter indicates that Iberdrola have terminated the contract for the supply of electricity to your property.

Once the outstanding bill has been paid, a new electricity supply contract can be applied for. For some customers payment of the debt will suffice, they will then be reconnected in due course and billed for the new contract plus a re-connection charge. Other customers will be asked to produce a boletin (Electrical Installation Certificate) before the electricity supply can be reconnected. A boletin is normally required in order to issue a new contact on an electrical installation that is over 20 years old (other circumstances may also apply). 

Here is where the aggro starts with a lot of unforeseen problem that can take weeks, even months, to resolve. The services of an electrician are required to inspect and carry out any necessary work to bring the installation up to the standard required by the current Spanish electrical regulations. Updated regulations where introduced in 2002, and if your property was built before then it will need some upgrading work. This could mean anything from changing a few obsolete socket outlets to completely rewiring the property, depending on the age of the installation. Provision must also be made for an ICP (Power Control Switch) to be fitted. Once the installation complies with the current regulations a boletin can be issued. Properties with their meter cupboard inside the grounds may be asked to re-site it outside the property, so that it can be accessed from the street. Needless to say, this can all be a very expensive and time consuming undertaking. 

If you need help getting an electricity supply reconnected email Sparks submitting an explanation of the problem together with any correspondence received from Iberdrola. We will reply with a recommended course of action together with a quotation. If Iberdrola insist on a new boletin before a new contract can be applied for, then access to the property will need to be arranged for an inspection survey.

31 January 2012

Iberdrola penalise customers without notice for not having an ICP

IBERDROLA HAVE increased some of their customer’s bills without prior notification. Check your electricity bill to see if “Recargo en Potencia por falta de ICP” has been added to the Energia box. It means because an ICP (Power Control Switch) has not been fitted a penalty is being charged. This shows up on the bill as an additional amount added to the standing charge. 

Customers on a 3.3 kW tariff are being charged for an additional 6.7 kW increasing their tariff to 10 kW which costs 10.80 euros per month extra. Customers on a 5.5 kW tariff are being charged for an additional 14.5 kW increasing their tariff to 20kW which costs 23.39 euros per month extra. 

Over the past year Iberdrola have been instructing home owners that they must have an ICP fitted in accordance with Spanish Law, otherwise they face a financial penalty. Two notifications should be sent by Iberdrola before they apply the penalty, the first by normal post, the second by recorded delivery giving a final 20 day notice. However, in the latest ICP saga, some customers have not received any notification at all and only by chance have discovered the penalty has been charged on their electricity bill. 

Iberdrola have blamed the poor postal system because it appears some notifications appear to have slipped through the system. 

In order to rectify the situation, home owners need to arrange to have an ICP fitted as soon as possible then arrange for Iberdrola to inspect and seal it by telephoning 902 10 22 10, quoting the contract number.