11 Jan, 2014 @ 18:30
1 min read

Electric shocker

electricity tower

SPANISH electricity bills are among the highest in Europe – leaving some four million families struggling to pay.

Bills have risen around 60% between 2006 and now and Spaniards fork out more than all but Cypriots and the Irish.

The government blames poor regulation, which has resulted in a huge deficit for the electricity companies and the heavy subsidies to promote renewables, including high feed-in tariffs to power generators.

The Red Cross said around 40% of families who come to the organisation for help, cannot keep their homes warm in winter.

Claire Wilson

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  1. Yes the total bills are expensive in Spain! The full IVA/VAT is added by the Spanish government and this 21% increases the cost per unit charge considerably . In the UK Utilities have a reduced VAT rate of around 12%.
    So clearly, another hidden tax for the hard pressed electricity users in Spain!

  2. Is this yet another example of “renewables” not working? Spain is supposed to be one of the world’s leaders in this field but massively higher power bills don’t inspire confidence do they?

  3. Thing about renewables is that when they reach the end of their working lives they can be recycled, they don’t pollute and even better there is no multi billion price to pay to decommission and even then you are left with nuclear waste that has a half life of 200,000 years – remind me how long ago it was that the bipeds left the caves to live in rudimentary housing – 8-9000 years?

    Or maybe you’d like to build a lot of coal fired power stations – they have great smog in Beijing.

    The Germans now export electricity to neighbouring countries, this electricity comes from solar and wind power but of course the Germans are really stupid people with a crap economy.

  4. In 2012, the Germans produced only 22% of their power from renewables, the rest was mostly coal.

    How do they sort out the wind and solar energy for export ?

  5. As far as “sorting it out”, I think that would be simple. They’d know at any time what is being produced & from what source. If they export any, then it’ll just be exported on an agreed charge to their client & calculated on the amount sent. That would be recorded on measuring instruments rather like your home meter but obviously on a larger scale.

  6. Given that wind and solar power is (unfortunately) much more expensive to produce, wouldn’t the neighbouring countries object to being sold expensive solar and wind electricity from Germany, and wouldn’t they go on the open market and buy it in from, say, France who have a cheaper nuclear mix – like Britain does ?

    Or do the Germans subsidise the neighbouring countries by selling solar and wind power to them on the cheap ?

  7. There’s nothing cheap about nuclear power.If the future inevitable costs of disposal and de-commissioning were factored into bills, no-one could afford to turn on a light.
    If the true cost of climate change was factored into the use of fossil fuels, the same would be true. These means of power generation are subsidised by piling the costs onto children of the present and those who are not yet born. Footling around with arguments about which country is dearer or cheaper is irrelevant. The philosophy of “Let the Devil take the hindmost” is unsustainable, if our planet is to survive.

  8. You’re absolutely right, Stefanjo. However we have to live in the real world, where hardly anyone writes to the newspapers after receiving an electricity bill complaining that their bill hasn’t been trebled to factor in the de-commissioning costs of the nuclear reactors, or that they are not high enough to allow us to dump carbon fuels.

    Look at the headline here in the Olive Press – “Electric Shocker” it says, not “At Last – Electricity Prices Go Up to Reflect the Real Cost of Clean Power !”.

  9. PickledHerring,
    do tell us the source you get your info from.

    David, all coal mining in Germany was stopped years ago but when it was active the German government had to subsidize coal production by 500% no that’s not a typo.

    People don’t live in the real world PickledHerring they are fed lies by a press (UK) that is controlled mainly by corporate interests and you exhibit a selfish streak where only today counts for YOU. Will you live long enough to pick up the tab for de-commissioning all those nuclear power stations?

    The Germans don’t sell their power cheap, they sell it at a pay back price – no need to figure in multi-billion de-com. costs per nuclear station.

    If the electricity has gone up take a look at your lifestyle, are you a programmed consumer buying lots of junk you don’t need. Sadly most in the West and increasingly in the East too are brainwashed, Dr.Goebbels would be tickled pink to see how the ad companies have followed his mantra to a T.

    Especially for the ordinary Spanish, this should be a time when they re-evaluate what they spend their money on, do away with the consumerist rubbish and see how cheaply they can live, they will find that they have more than enough money to pay increased power bills.

    Why do you think in 2008 the global banking/financial industry was desperate that people should not stop spending, should not evaluate what and where to spend their money. If that had happened en mass it would have been the end of Anglo-Saxon Capitalism and no morons I’m not promoting any kind of State Capitalist/Red Fascist economy with their doomed to failure ‘five year plans’.

    How badly is your Spanish property built ergo do you have to use an a/c unit – the most power hungry thing in the home.Do you use a tumble drier, the lazy man’s machine for drying clothes. How much heat do you need to keep warm in the winter in an un-insulated building, do you use LED and CFL lighting. Is your home built to use passive solar heating in the winter and use simple systems to deflect the sun in the warm months?

    The one thing the Spanish got right is renewable energy, what a shame the only renewables being programmed for the UK are to be made by foreign companies – brown envelopes for certain UK MPs (perhaps they asked the Spanish how to do this without getting caught).

    How about something revolutionary for the UK – create massive offshore wind farms ditto wave rocker generators, tidal flow (hugely efficient)and all built and designed in the UK – no we can’t have that – providing skilled jobs for UK workers, sustainable employment – never, what would the fossil fuel/nuclear generators have to say about that the next time they pulled the Tory MPs out of their backsides – harsh words methinks and no more payments made in the Cayman/British Virgin Islands.

    The French produce 82% of their power from nuclear plants – the government has told us that electricity will go up 30% over the next 5 years and that’s without figuring in de-com. costs – hey wait a minute I thought nuclear power was cheap.

    To sum up – the Spanish with no gas or oil (yet) a coal industry that is completely unprofitable and mostly shut down took a very rational decision to go for renewables. So the price of electricity is going up but by how much and with what risk of another Chernobyl or Fukishima would electricity be produced by the totally unclean nuclear plants – I suggest that all those in favour of n/energy take a visit to Fukishima a little bit of radiation sickness followed by all kinds of cancers and leukemia might just change their minds.

    The world needs clean methods of producing electricity and if that means not spending money on completely unnec. consumerist rubbish and spending it on renewable produced electricity instead then so be it – another way to look at it is – do you have children, do you care enough to leave them a safe world to live in or is it all about your own selfishness today.

  10. Stuart. As I understand it coal mining in Germany is planned to continue until 2018. I think eight mines are still producing.

    As far as your other points are concerned, particularly the quality of the houses we all live in, I quite agree but like everything else, cost comes into it. To build the perfect home would be out of just about everyone’s budget. Mine is more “modified” than many but it’s still way of perfect & power costs would have to increase very very substantially for me to even consider doing much more. I suspect that applies to most people & most people do not wish to go back to what are considered old fashioned ways (charcoal burner under the table with a blanket round the table for example).

  11. I and other readers are indebted to you for your information that all coal mining stopped in Germany years ago. Perhaps you should let the German Government know.

    With the permission of the Olive Press, here is a link to a Financial Times article of 7th January, showing the sort of places I get my info from. Maybe you could do me the courtesy of pointing out where you get your information from.

    “German coal use at highest level since 1990”.

    “Germany, which is the world’s largest brown coal miner…”


  12. David,
    of course there’s no such thing as a perfect home but I was amazed on my second visit to Spain in 1988 to see the awful state of construction and just how much better construction had been up until the tourists began to arrive in the 1960s’.

    Old Spanish properties were well built for that time and the materials available then.

    Here in France new standards of insulation were brought into force in 2013 but there was no attempt by government to force builders to use the best method or materials.

    The new rules have meant (for those who don’t know) that exterior walls now mean a 5 stage construction – the first either solid or cavity dense concrete blocks which are a heat sump aka they absorb the cold in winter and the heat in summer (these are what are used in Spanish exterior walls) and absorb water like a sponge or cavity red clay blocks x 2. Then galvanized steel batons (to take the single skin plasterboard)after the rockwool insulation has been applied. Plasterboard joints corked with filler or Artex.Then a finish plaster is applied (mainland Europe does’nt use bonding plaster). Like Spain they don’t bother with using a heavy grade (1200) lining paper.

    This is a lot of materials and expensive labor and still all these new houses have an a/c unit – which means that the design has failed. A well built house creates an effective barrier between the exterior and interior environment if it does’nt it’s crap.

    I have banged on about aercrete blocks before – excellent acoustic and thermal material, only absorbs a max. of 3% water and are fire and insect proof, no need to use nasty chemicals every year to deal with termites.

    To easily surpass the U value of the ‘acceptable’ multi stage construction only takes the one stage 20cm aercrete block and it’s performance will not suffer with time.

    There is no need to use a finish plaster that will make a home ring like a bell. I will use 1200 grade lining paper cross lined and organic paint – I don’t fancy what the Danes call ‘painter’s dementia’ vinyl paint is highly carcinogenic. This organic paint is the only thing that is more expensive than the usual vinyl paint.

    With floor and roofing beams in the same material – you can have a house that is fire and insect proof, that is quick to construct and cheaper than using crap materials.

    Think carefully about the implications of the intense heat (inland Spain) and use windows to capture free solar heat in winter using insulated shutters to keep it in at night Make sure that the sun does’nt touch the windows in the hot weather by using external sun blinds both vertical and horizontal and don’t stupidly have a terrace facing south, you will have a house that does’nt need the power hungry a/c which anyway strips the incoming air of all moisture which is not good for health reasons – a house should have a near constant 60-65% humidity, great for bipeds/quadrupeds and house plants.

    A well insulated home needs one more thing to provide excellent living conditions – an air change system. I have designed a very simple solution to provide heated air for winter and cooled air for summer. Of course this only has to be used at times of temperature extremes, this system will use between 50-70W. not 2-5 Kw as with an a/c unit. Using LED for uplighters and CFLs for when good light is required for reading etc. Your looking at using a fraction of the energy needed for the old type lights. All my LEDS are battery operated so no problem if the power goes.

    A brilliant use of butane/propane gas bottles turned into heating stoves can be seen on Ebay.uk. I intend to use 3 of these in my home, you can use any type of wood in these and positioned away from the walls you will not believe how much radiant heat they produce.

    So how many of you have a house remotely resembling what I have outlined – so you have to spend a lot of money on electricity. At the moment we live in an old stone built house. We are careful about the power we use but even so the annual cost is around €900 and as I mentioned in my previous post prices are going to rise 30% over the next 5 years. I would say conservatively a 10 year total will be in excess of €14,000 and today’s PV panels are guaranteed for 20 years.

    There have been a lot of brilliant improvements to PV panels which should be available within 2 years, nearly doubling the output and halving the cost of production. Same goes for domestic wind turbines. With graphene, batteries are advancing by the day.

    Remember that at least 30% of your electricity bill is recurring charges – for connection/TVA etc.

    With an investment in the right kind of renewable energy you only get screwed once for TVA and there are non of the recurring charges of utility companies.It is a legal requirement to have gas and fuel oil appliances checked annually -for us at the moment that is €168 per year, will these charges remain the same over say over 10 years – of course not, figure in €2500. This annual inspection charge is enough to buy me a woodburning kitchen range.

    We were lucky with Endesa unlike so many who have posted on this forum – how much will they screw you for in the future. How will the French recover the mind boggling costs of decommissioning their nuclear power stations, through upping the cost of electricity or through general taxation?

    Forgot to mention we will use a solar hot water system (did you know you can make your own?) and no problem on the few grey days we get here as the woodburning stove will also provide all the hot water we need as well as heat for a modern design of greenhouse.

    The other point I hav’nt made is peace of mind. Should there come a time of civil unrest(very likely all over Europe but not in the UK) the elites will have no hesitation in shutting off the power – try living a modern life without electricity, so, no matter what the cost it’s vital – time to stop buying consumer society rubbish that you don’t need and be thankful that with renewable energy rather than nuclear the cost of electricity will be far less than nuclear – of course if your into radiation sickness ignore what I have said.

    PickledHerring – Germany the world’s largest brown coal miner, your data is out of date, the brown coal mining took place in the old East Germany – LOL – try Australia/USA and of course China – the wonderful quality of the air in Beijing – the Chinese are’nt the world’s largest producer of coal as well as the biggest importer – no of course not.

  13. Stuart. Many thanks for your proposed building schemes including the solar stuff. You do appear to have overlooked having a solar oven though which surprises me in view of the depth you’ve gone to on this “comments” page. A friend of mine has one & uses it with great success. You might want to add one to your wish list.

    Meanwhile I’ll consider knocking down my grossly inadequate house & build a new one just to prove that it really can be done. As for amortizing it, I’ll have to have a few words with “Him” upstairs in order to live long enough to get back in the black.

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