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Endesa - Electricity, Gas, People

Suppliers and distributors: what each one does

Published on September 17, 2018

The company to call when there is a power outage in your neighbourhood is not the same as the one that sends you your bills. We explain what a supplier is, what a distributor is, and why it matters to you.

You know that energy is generated in different types of power plants. You know that it reaches your home through the power grid (or through gas pipelines). But you get lost when it comes to identifying each of the companies that take part in this process. And you might think that the one sending you your bills is responsible for everything.

We explain what distributors and suppliers do so you can finally understand how things work.

The distributor: brings the power to your home

The distributor is responsible for ensuring that the power correctly reaches your home. You cannot choose your distributor, as one or another is assigned to you depending on the area where you live.

You can see which electricity distributor is assigned to each area below:

Map of Spain with the zone for each electricity distributor. The information is then explained afterwards in text.

Although there is overlap, especially in border areas, the electricity distribution companies cover the following areas:

  • e-distribución: Catalonia, Aragón, Andalusia, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and the province of Badajoz.
  • i-DE: Basque Country, Navarre, La Rioja, Castile and León except the province of Segovia and the west of province of León, Madrid except the south of the Autonomous Community, the province of Cáceres, west of the province of Toledo, north of the province of Guadalajara, the Valencian Community and Murcia.
  • UFD: Galicia, the west of the province of León, the province of Segovia, the south of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, the province of Ciudad Real, the province of Cuenca, most of the province of Toledo and the south of the province of Guadalajara.
  • E-REDES: Asturias.
  • Viesgo Distribución: Cantabria and some parts of southern and western Asturias.

Why it matters to you

  • Because this is the company that will repair any faults affecting your power supply. 
  • Because they own your meter. The distributor is responsible for sending power-use readings to the supplier, repairing broken meters and, in the case of electricity, installing the new digital meters.

As the end consumer, your contract is not with the distributor, but with the supplier.

The supplier: caters for your needs

The supplier is not responsible for ensuring that the power supply reaches your home. It offers you different rates, sends you your bills, advises you on how you can achieve savings and responds to your questions and concerns.

You are free to choose your supplier and you can change whenever you wish

Why it matters to you

  • Because your rate depends on your supplier and what you pay in your bill depends on your tariff.
  • Because the key is to find a tariff that adapts to your consumption profile, and the supplier is the one who can advise you best.

Bear in mind that there are two different energy supply markets: the open market and the regulated market. On the open market, there is a wide variety of companies and rates. On the regulated market, there are just a few suppliers and a single rate, the PVPC (Voluntary Small Consumer Price), with or without an hourly breakdown.

How to know whether you are in the open market or regulated market

If there is a power outage, you need to call the distributor. If you have questions about your bills, rate or contract, call the supplier.