The new electricity bill model for the millions of consumers who are in the regulated market (PVPC, voluntary price for small consumers) came into force a month ago (June 1) and small changes in consumption habits can already be seen. There are now three billing periods: peak [entre 10 y las 14 horas entre las 18 y las 22 horas], flat [8 a 10, de 14 a 18 y de 22 a 00] and valley [00 a 8].

According to Red Eléctrica de España (REE), the start of the working day, the closing of shops during noon, industrial activity and the increased occupation of homes in the final hours of the day explain why the demand is not identical at different times of the day. There is more energy demand in the so-called peak hours or higher electricity consumption.

In winter, peak hours occur between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. due to activity in companies / services and in homes, or between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. due to the confluence between commercial activity and housing occupation. However, in summer they occur in the central hours of the day, coinciding with the times of highest temperature.

The electrical system operator emphasizes that during these hours it is more expensive to produce electricity because it is necessary for the most expensive production plants to operate, which are also the ones that emit the most CO2. In addition, the entire electrical system has to be dimensioned to be able to meet the demand in this reduced number of hours.

In this way, about 4,000 megawatts (MW) are needed, which is equivalent to ten 400 MW combined cycle plants or four 1,000 MW nuclear power plants, to meet the 300 peak hours or those with the highest annual consumption. On the other hand, the hours of least consumption are called off-peak hours and correspond to night hours, coinciding with the least activity of all consumption sectors.

Always understanding that the marketer adapts his contracts to the sections of the new tolls and charges, the consumer can obtain savings on his bill by adjusting the peak and valley power to the new structure of tolls and charges; avoiding turning on several appliances at the same time; If you have night batteries, increasing the contracted power in the off-peak period to charge in a shorter period, or charging the electric car at night.

According to the CNMC, avoiding turning on all appliances at the same time could induce savings of between 200 and 300 euros per year for a consumer with high electrical equipment, if the contracted power were adjusted to the peak.

Well, with the new tariff structure, it can be seen how consumers are beginning to shift demand to the flat hours (average price), especially from 10 pm to midnight. For example, if you compare May 3 (still with the old system), June 3 and July 1 (see graph), you can see how the fall of the demand curve is less than ten to twelve of the night. Specifically, on May 3 and the rest of the days of the fifth month it fell between 4,000 and 5,000 MW during that time. In June, with the new tariff, during this section the demand fell only between 3,000 and 4,000 MW, which is 1,000 MW less. On July 1 it was only 2,800 MW.

REE experts indicate that consumers are taking advantage of this time slot because it can be considered that electricity is at a “reasonable” price and because it is the one that is most suitable for performing household tasks, such as putting in the dishwasher, washing machine or using the iron without that supposes an early riser or to do it very late. In addition, a small rebound in demand has also been detected starting at 12 at night. With the new bill there has been an average increase in demand at 00:30 of about 2,000 MW.

The Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, recognizes Five days that since the new bill was applied there has been “a small increase” in the early afternoon and a “very pronounced drop” at six in the afternoon. “It may be working, but it is too early to draw conclusions,” he warns.

Ribera emphasizes that “if the CNMC detects something before it must change or qualify, it will do so.” In this line, its president, Cani Fernández, already indicated a few days ago that the tariff bands “will be adjusted as consumption adapts and the hours of greatest congestion are downloaded in the networks.”

Aelec: more electricity to achieve decarbonisation

The employers’ association of large electricity companies, Aelec, believes that citizens must be aware of the importance of their decisions when it comes to optimizing consumption. In this context, it defends that the path to decarbonisation entails a greater consumption of electricity to achieve sustainability.

“Hence the importance of improving the dissemination and knowledge of rates by consumers. The new rate structure responds to clear signals to save in the future, although it is also true that unfortunately our rates include 50% that they are the charges and they have nothing to do with electricity consumption, “says the association that represents Endesa, Iberdrola, EDP and Viesgo.