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Endesa - Electricity, Gas, People

How much power do I need in my house?

Published on April 15, 2019

Upgrading the power supply in your home may be an unnecessary expense, but if your power supply is too low, you may not be able to carry out everyday activities as normal. Beware of requesting a change of power supply without the help of an expert: the cost of the various procedures could eat away at potential savings.

Why does my electricity trip whenever I have guests for dinner?

Why does the electricity go off when the air conditioning unit is switched on and I use the vacuum cleaner?

Why can’t I use the washing machine when I have a cake in the oven?

The answer to these questions is not a poltergeist; it is your power supply.

What is electrical power?

The contracted power is the amount of kilowatts (kW) that you can simultaneously access from your home’s electrical grid. For example: if you have your electric heating on, you are using the washing machine and your oven, the approximate power needed by your home will be between and 4 and 6.9 kW. If you have contracted less than 4 kW, you will probably be left in the dark until you switch off your washing machine, oven or heating.

The more power you have, the more electrical appliances you will be able to switch on at the same time without tripping the switch. But the more power you have, the more you will pay each month, since your electricity bill is divided into your consumption (which you can control by being more efficient) and the power (which is a fixed cost and increases depending on the kW you have contracted).

What matters is the number of home appliances

When subscribing to electric power, you must take many factors into account; the most important of which is the number of home appliances used everyday.

Whether or not you have a large home (or a small one) is unimportant, as it is possible to live in voluminous square meters of space with few home appliances and in minimalist spaces with many of them. What makes the difference when talking about power are aspects like the heating being electric, for example.

To find out if you need more or less power, it’s not the size of your house that matters. What matters is the number of home appliances and whether or not you want to use them at the same time.

Rule nº1: The higher the power, the higher the cost

The higher your power is, the higher the fixed amount you have to pay each month. Therefore, reducing an unnecessarily high power is one of your main options for cutting down the cost of your electricity bill.

But, what is your power right now? If you are an Endesa customer, you simply have to access your Customer Area to find out (you will need to log in and, if you have not already done so, register).

Rule nº1: Less power does not always mean greater savings

There is no doubt that reducing your power can help you save: around 50 euros per year for every kW that you reduce. But all these savings will disappear if you are left short after dropping your contracted power. This could leave you without electricity when you switch on various electrical appliances at once.

Nobody wants to live at the limit of power, dealing with the circuit breaker cutting out every time you start to multi-task. For example, your power cuts because you turn on the oven while the washing machine is running. Having the power cut can be inconvenient in these situations.

If this happens, you will have to increase the power again, which will cost money. In the best case scenario, you would have to pay around 50 euros to increase the power again. In the worst case scenario, more than 200 euros. Depending on your situation, what you save by dropping your contracted power could disappear or even end up being more expensive.

The three possible situations with power: oversubscribing and paying too much; undersubscribing and having the power cut; or finding the balance

Rule nº3: You decide, but be well-informed

When increasing the power, there is a marked limit due to safety reasons. That is, not all electrical installations can withstand high power. If you need more than your limit allows, you’ll have to renovate your installation.

When lowering the power, you have the last word. But keep in mind that if your power keeps cutting, it will be you suffering inconveniences.

If you are left short after dropping your power, the cost of re-uploading will eat your savings.

Who chooses the power?

Consumers establish the power they wish to contract with the company. Likewise, consumers can change the power depending on their requirements however; the distribution company only has to accept one change of power per year.

Thus, you decide the power you contract. But as we are telling you, do so wisely and without pressuring yourself.

How to calculate the power supply you need

The logic for choosing your power is simple: you have to calculate the maximum kW that you're going to require from your grid at any one time. You have to think about what might happen in advance, and think about those situations in which you are going to need to set your home appliances to the maximum. When do you turn more of them on at the same time?

There are some things you’ll be able to give up, and others that you can't. For example, perhaps you can wait to turn on the washing machine, delaying it until things are calmer. Maybe not. For example, perhaps you get too hot in the summer and you need to turn on three air conditioners at the same time while you prepare your food in the oven.

Make your calculations. Your objective is to find the highest number of kW that you’re going to ask of your electrical installation. When you find this number, you’ll know how much power to contract. And remember, if you exceed it, “you’ll blow a fuse”.

Below, you can see the approximate power that each home appliance requires when you turn it on

  • Electric heating: 1 - 2,5 kW
  • Dishwasher: 1,5 - 2,2 kW
  • Washing machine: 1,5 - 2,2 kW
  • Oven: 1,5 - 2,2 kW
  • Ceramic hob: 0,9 - 2 kW
  • Air conditioning (each apparatus or split): 0,9 - 2 kW
  • Microwave: 0,9 - 1,5kW
  • Low consumption heating: 0,4 - 0,8 kW
  • Refrigerator: 0,25 - 0,35 kW
  • Television: 0,15 - 0,4 kW

How do you know if you have more contracted power than you need?

To find out if you have more power than you really need, there is an old trick that almost never fails. Turn on all electrical devices in your home. Don't forget the split devices, including the air conditioner, oven and stove burners, if they are electric, even the vacuum. If you turn them all on at the same time, and the circuit breaker doesn't cut, you probably have more power than you need. If the Power Control Switch does not trip, you probably have more power than required.

If this is your case, your electricity bills are unnecessarily high. You're paying for something that you never or almost never use, an excess of kW that is reflected each month in what you pay. It is in your best interest to change the power to lower it; but never do it in a rush, and always take plenty of time to make your decision.

Ask the professionals for help

If you think your power is insufficient, we recommend that you request a technical advice, who will check your property’s records and meticulously assess all the requirements.

The following form includes the category “Advice” under the type of "Query" and the subject is "Questions regarding how much power I need":

Make the most of it by also reducing your consumption

If you're convinced you want to cut your electrical consumption we provide the best rates.

If the power that you consume (or that is appropriate) is equal to or less than 10 kW, we recommend Tempo Happy, a rate that allows you to choose 2 hours per day (or 1 day per week) in which the electrical consumption will be free.

If the power you consume (or that is suitable for you) is greater than 10 kW, visit our specialised catalogue.

Don't make a decision without thinking about it well in advance

Power is the fixed term of your bill, something you're going to pay for every month. For exactly that reason, increasing it or decreasing it is not a decision that you can take lightly. Unexpected costs may come from various fronts, including the Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC). As a result of changing the power, your distributor may inform you that you need a new certificate, which will cost you between approximately 100 and 150 euros.

If you need to increase the power, you’ll need to add around 45 euros for every kW that you want to increase. As for lowering your power, it will cost you around 11 euros regardless of how much you lower it. In addition to all of this, your distributor may charge you for other operations or a deposit, and create problems for you if you have already made another power change during the same year.

For all of these reasons, don’t aimlessly lower the power in an attempt to save. It is absolutely true: the less power you have, the less you’ll pay. In addition, this concept is one of those that has the greatest bearing on your bill. However, it is also absolutely true that if you’re short on power, you’ll be obliged to increase it again, and that process can be complicated and end up being expensive.

The key when choosing power is to find a balance between savings and your well-being.