Electricity costs in Spain do not compare favourably to other European countries

Electricity costs in Spain are some of the highest in the EU, shows research from the Spanish dailly La Vanguardia.

As you can see from the table below, based on the cost of 100 kWh in the second half of 2019, electricity costs in Spain are the fifth highest in the EU, behind Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Ireland.

Electricity costs in the EU broken down by production and tariffs (darker bar)

But, as usual in Spain, taxes and other official tariffs play a significant part in driving up the cost significantly above the EU average. According to the table, almost half the cost of electricity in Spain comes from taxes and tariffs (darker bar). It’s more like a third in most other EU countries.

Looking at my latest electricity bill, 35% of the cost was electricity generation, 21% was tax, and 43% was other regulated tariffs such as a green tax, distribution costs, and other costs.

VAT on gas and electricity is charged at 21% in Spain, compared to 20% in France, and 10% in Italy. It’s just 6% in Greece.

There is uproar in Spain because electricity costs spiked something like 20% during the cold snap in the first half of January, when Madrid was brought to a standstill by the heaviest snowfall in decades.

I’m thinking of doing a series of articles on ‘ripoff Spain’ and ‘bargain Spain’ to see how living costs compare to other countries in Europe, and I suspect the electricity costs will be more in the ripoff group. It doesn’t help that energy bills in Spain are fiendishly difficult to understand, let alone compare.

SPI Member Comments

Thoughts on “Electricity costs in Spain do not compare favourably to other European countries

  • I have long suspected that electricity costs are unacceptably and artificially high here in Catalunya. What’s more the prices move frequently (upwards, rarely downwards,) apparently depending on the month by month financial state of the electricity suppliers. Your article confirms it. I believe there have been protest marches objecting to these prices but, unless I’m mistaken, they have fallen on deaf ears in Madrid and the provincial capitals. Thank you for your comparison with other E.U. countries. Out of interest, I’d be interested to know roughly where the U.K. comes in your table.

    Your articles on “Ripoff Spain” and “Bargain Spain” are eagerly awaited, and once again I’d be glad if you could, if possible, include Britain in any comparison tables.

  • Just had my monthly bill from Iberdrola this morning 38 euro for my two bed empty apartment using no electricity. My bill for a 4 bed detached property in the UK for the same month with a family of 6 was £50. Makes not sense.

  • Electricity costs in Spain are a joke. My last bill had a charge of 41 Euros of which 10 Euros was for energy consumed (Empty house).

    Water is the same, even if you don’t use any, there will be a whole series of add-ons to ramp the bill up.

    It’s only a short while since they removed the ridiculous Sun Tax that made them the laughing stock of Europe in that the Govt. actively discouraged its citizens from utilizing one of the countries greatest freely available resources. Once again the return to sanity only occurred as the EU threatened to take action against Spain.

    I’d look at fitting Solar power to my house in Spain, but the charges added before you even start, have put me off.

    If I could, I’d go completely off-grid with a battery system, but I’m sure they will have thought up some penalty to stop you from evading their hidden tax system. They’ll probably have a charge for not using the grid electrical supply!

  • The method Spain uses of splitting the charges between “potencia” and actual usage are logical. The infrastructure costs are different if someone only needs 3.4 vs 10. BUT… that, IMO, should be a one-time deal, because once those costs are paid (in connecting the house to the grid in the first place) then it’s covered.

    The question of how to charge for electricity in the future will become more and more complex, and many nations are struggling with it. As users everywhere start putting in more solar panels, wind generations, etc, how does that work with the power company’s imperatives? Who should pay to upgrade the grid so it can take best advantage of user-generated excess power?

    Spain is, naturally, doing a poor job of figuring this stuff out. It’s a little depressing. And we haven’t even begun to discuss what all the extra taxes are compared with other EU nations.

  • Because of the lockdowns and travel restrictions I couldn’t use my Menorcan apartment for the whole of last year (2020). The biggest rip off is the landline phone with internet. Here’s the costs for a year of total non use:
    Phone 801
    Electricity 340
    Water 69
    Rates 290
    Non Res Income Tax 495
    Road tax 23

    And now, of course, the Schengen stupidity means the place is effectively useless. Time to sell Spain (unless you are poor) but expect to get a big hit from agents (4%), Plus Valia (9200 in my case) and CGT (30k) on top of a big price drop. If you are a middle income Brit Swallow and thinking of buying in Spain, don’t.

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