10 June 2013

ICP - frequently asked questions

What is an ICP?
An ICP is a kill switch for controlling your electricity supply, also known as an Interrupter Control de Potencia or Power Control Switch (PCS). The ICP limits the amount of electricity available to the user from the contracted power supply.

What is my contracted power supply?

This is the electricity tariff that you agreed and signed up for with Iberdrola when you moved into your property. The amount is stated on your electricity bill and contract, usually found next to “Potencia Contratada” stated in kilowatts (kW).

Why must I have an ICP?

Royal Decree 1454/2005 and the order ITC 1559/2010 declared it mandatory that all domestic installations less than 15 kW must have a device for controlling the contracted power. That means an ICP must be fitted.

Where is the ICP?

There are three types of ICP currently in existence. One type is manual, the other two types are automatic, both old and new. The manual ICP(M) is fitted in a dedicated standardised box, next to, or part of, the Consumer Unit alongside the main switch. The old automatic ICP(A) is in the meter cupboard. The old auto-type was discontinued in the mid 90's, but is still present and operational in older properties.

The new third type of ICP is automatic and is incorporated in a Smart Meter. These are gradually becoming operational as Iberdrola replace all the traditional electric meters across Spain. They are expected to be fully functional when finally connected to a Smart Grid.

Do I have access to the ICP?

The ICP(M) can easily be accessed in your Consumer Unit within you home. If it trips out due to an overload, restore the power by switching off a few appliances, then switch the ICP back up and the power will be restored.

The automatic ICP housed in a Smart Meter is not accessible. To reset the power if it cuts off, switch off the main switch in your Consumer Unit for about 10 seconds, then switch it back on and the power will be restored.
When must I fit an ICP?

Iberdrola will notify you by letter if you need to fit an ICP. Iberdola write two letters, the second letter is delivered by recorded delivery and gives 20 days’ notice to comply.

What happens if I don't fit an ICP?

You will be penalised to pay a higher electricity tariff for the contracted power supply. A 3.3 kW contracted supply will be increased to a 10 kW tariff. A 5.5kW contracted supply will be increased to a 20kW tariff. Iberdrola should send you a recorded delivery notice about the penalty. However in some instances the notices have not been received. So keep an eye on your electricity bill for any unexplained increases. The penalty charge will be identified on the bill as “Recargo en Potencia por falta de ICP”

Do I already have an ICP?

Possibly, homes completed since 2002 should have an ICP(M) fitted in the Consumer Unit. An ICP may or may not be fitted in homes built prior to 2002.

What are the implications of having an ICP fitted?

A possible consequence of installing an ICP is that insufficient power maybe contracted. This is evident when several appliances are switched on at the same time and the power overloads the system and the ICP trips out. If you require additional power it will be necessary to upgrade your electricity supply.

What about the ICP in Smart Meters?

Iberdrola is currently undertaking an ambitious programme to replace every traditional electric meter with a Smart Meter by the end of 2018. It is called the STAR Project and will connect everybody to a Smart Grid via their Smart Meter by the end of 2020. An automatic ICP is fitted in the Smart Meter and it supersedes the manual ICP(M) in the Consumer Unit making it redundant, as well as ensuring that illegal upgrades become a thing of the past. 

The new automatic ICPs are becoming operational as Iberdrola replace the traditional electric meters. They are digitally operated and far less tolerant than the manual ICP, so the electricity supply disconnects immediately the contracted supply is exceeded. A possible consequence of having a Smart Meter fitted is that the contracted supply maybe insufficient.

Do I need a boletin once the ICP is fitted?

No, a boletin (electrical installation certificate) is only needed if you are upgrading your electricity supply. Once the ICP is fitted, arrange for Iberdrola to inspect and seal it. The cost is €9.04 plus IVA, charged directly to your electricity bill. However, if the property is more than 20 years, they may ask you to present boletin.

Still unsure whether or not you have an ICP?

Telephone Iberdrola on 902 10 22 10, quote your contract number, and ask if you need to have an ICP fitted, or alternatively take a photo of your Consumer Unit and email Sparks.

How much does it cost to have an ICP fitted?

It depends on the rating of the ICP and your contracted power supply. You'll find this figure stated in kilowatts (kW) on an electricity bill next to “Potencia Contratada”. For a quote contact Sparks.