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ICP switch / Digital meters

ICP SWITCH

ICP compartment and switch

WHAT IS AN ICP SWITCH

ENDESA have been contacting property owners across Spain since 2010 with regards having an ICP switch in their property. The ICP (INTERUTOR CONTROLA POTENCIA) is a switch which is installed in a lockable section of the properties fuseboard or in a separately sealed and lockable box and that is designed to control the amount of electric that is used in the property at any one time. All ICP switches differ in value. The bigger the switch the more current is allowed to pass through it. Once the limit is exceeded the switch is designed to trip.

WHAT ICP SWITCH SHOULD I HAVE

The size of your ICP switch must correspond with your contracted potencia. For example a single phase 4,4kw potencia is a double pole 20amp ICP switch. Your potencia can be found on the top of your Electric bill.

WHAT POTENCIA SHOULD I HAVE / POTENCIA CHARGES

The larger your potencia the larger your monthly charge is. For example, a single phase 4,4kw potencia will cost approx 10 euros per month whilst a 3phase 17kw potencia will cost approx 60 euros per month. It is important to get your potencia correct. If your potencia is too high you will be paying too much. If your potencia is too low the electrical system in your house will continually cut out. (If you require any assistance with selecting the right potencia for your property please feel free to give us a call on the numbers below for a free consultation).

WHAT IF MY SWITCH IS NOT BIG ENOUGH AND KEEPS TRIPPING

If this happens you are using more than your allowance and you will need to apply to ENDESA for a larger Potencia and so be able to upgrade the ICP switch. Under no circumstances are you allowed to remove or bypass the ICP switch. Heavy fines are issued for this. (If you require assistance in applying for a new contract please contact us. We charge a one of fee of 75 euros for Contract Upgrades).

ICP PENALTY CHARGES (recargo / penalizacion)

Since 2013 ENDESA have been fining properties that they know of that do not have an ICP switch. The penalty is shown on your Electric bill with the words ICP, Recargo OR Penalizacion. Fines range upwards from 20 euros per month (In some cases they are exceeding 100 euros per month) and rise the longer they remain unresolved.

HOW DO I REMOVE THE PENALTY CHARGE

In some cases you can install the ICP switch and then notify ENDESA. They will then remove the penalty charge. In other cases (generally older properties) ENDESA are asking for a Boletin (Electrical Certificate) before they will remove the charge. You will need to inquire at your local ENDESA office and 'ask the question'. (For assistance with this including the issuing of Boletins please contact us).

DOES EVERYONE NEED AN ICP SWITCH

Properties that have a valid Boletin (Electrical certificate) together with a DSM (Digital Smart Meter) do not need an ICP switch. By law all other properties should have an ICP switch.

DIGITAL SMART METERS

Due to an EU Directive every property in Spain is to have a Digital Smart Meter by 2017 end.
Endesa have been installing these Smart Meters since 2010. There is NO charge from Endesa to the customer for this installation thou there is a refundable rental fee (refundable IF the contract is ever terminated).

WHAT IS A SMART METER

A Smart Meter is a Digital Electric Meter replacement for the regular Electric Meter and ICP switch. As per a regular electric meter it is used to measure how much electric you have used. It also has the facility for the supplier (Endesa) to calculate your electric bills. It is also a substitute for the regular ICP (Interuptor Controla Potencia) switch.

WHAT DOES A SMART METER DO

Amongst other things, and most importantly to the user, the Digital Smart Meter has an inbuilt ICP unit. This device enables the Smart Meter to accurately measure the amount of electricity that is being used at any particular time day or night. When installed the Smart Meter is digitally set to correspond to the Contract Potencia for the property that it is attached to. IF at any one time the electricity used in the property exceeds the agreed Contract Potencia the Smart Meter is designed to cut out.

It can be reset either by pressing the button on the meter for approx 5 seconds OR going to your house fuseboard and turning OFF the main switch for approx 5 to 10seconds. When turning back ON this main switch the electricity in the property will come back on... but it will trip again IF you continue to use more electricity than your agreed Contract Potencia allows.

Other features of the Smart Meter include Endesa being able to read your meter from their local stations which will ultimately mean no more estimated bills.

WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SMART METER AND AN ICP SWITCH

The main difference is that the Smart Meter is a far more accurate device.
The ICP switch will give a degree of tolerance to the user.
For example, If you have a system with a 20amp ICP switch fitted you will be able to use approx 20 to 25amps (and more) for a short period of time before the ICP switch is eventually activated and trips.
For the same system the Smart Meter is designed to trip the moment you go over 20amp with little tolerance.
Therefore those properties who currently have a low Potencia which is not compatible to their Electrical System will find that once the Smart Meter is installed then their system will continually make the Smart Meter trip until they either...
A) apply to Endesa to upgrade their Contract Potencia OR
B) modify their use by turning off certain electrical appliances and not using certain high usage electrical items at the same time.

For assistance in this matter we can apply for and set up your New Upgraded Contract with Endesa. We have a one of fee of 75 euros for this service which includes all administration and paperwork at the Endesa Offices.

WHEN WILL ENDESA INSTALL MY SMART METER

You may have one already. Everyone will have a Smart Meter by end of 2017. At some point Endesa will send you a letter stating their intention to install a Digital Smart Meter at your property. The guide line is that Endesa must give you 3months to get your Contract Potencia and Electrical System in line with what it should be. Of course, If you don't receive your post you won't receive this letter and you may find one day that you suddenly have a Smart Meter fitted and an Electrical System that keeps tripping.

Lastly, Endesa install the DSM first and then, sometime later (weeks/months) another engineer will come along and electronically set your meter to your Contracted Potencia (via the barcode you can see on the front of the DSM). At this point you will quickly find out IF your Potencia is sufficient for your property. So, just because you have a DSM it does not necessarily mean it's 'working' ...yet!!

Should you have any questions you can contact us on the following numbers:

0034 952 961 108  /  0034 669 070 011  /  0044 (0)1923 608555 (this is a UK line that comes through directly to our Spanish Office). This is a standard rate call for anyone calling from the UK) Or email us on info@bselectrical.eu or sean@bselectrical.eu



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