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.

7 comments:

  1. Good advice as always Tony !
    I can vouch for the whole problems non-payment causes. Although I was lucky not to get cut off completely, and had no charges to pay, they didn't make things easy for in paying an outstanding Bill !

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  2. I'm aware of friends experiencing problems with Iberdrola and I've suggested to them that it may be worth a legal investigation to find whether they are using anti-competitive strategies to dominate the market and using this dominance to exploit the customers. Both of these would be against the basic articles of the EU.

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  3. Cutting off an electricity supply without notice certainly seems unfair. Whether or not it's against EU statutory rights is something for a legal expert to investigate.

    I agree with the boletin issue. Fact is the regulations state that a domestic property should have the electrical installation tested every 10 years, but people rarely do. I don´t really have to spell out why, especially here in Spain. Fact is, all installations over 10 years old need some work to make them safe and up to date in accordance with latest regs.

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  4. Yes you are right, I remember a friend being cut off and then after he settled the bill they claimed they did not have access to reconnect, funny how they found access to disconnect. Fortunately there are other options these days.

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  5. Hmmmm "other options" are they legal? :)

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  6. Has anyone else had a problem with their electricity supply since having a new 'smart' meter installed?
    Our was changed last month and we are now plagued by 'trips' A single kettle switched on sometimes can trip the main circuit. Before we could use several heating type appliances at once but not now. As we are new home owners this is our first problem with Iberdrola. We live in an old Spanish farm workers cottage if this helps.

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  7. Sounds like its the ICP tripping out in the Smart Meter. To solve this problem you will need to upgrade your potencia. If you are in the southern Costa Blanca area, please feel free to contact me if you need any further help.

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