Average consumer's lighting bill 40 Euros more expensive than 15 years ago – an increase of 92%

FACUA demands that the Government introduce genuinely effective measures to bring down prices and leave behind the stopgap solutions which consumers have seen recur in legislation after legislation.

Average consumer's lighting bill 40 Euros more expensive than 15 years ago – an increase of 92%

After 2018's sixth consecutive monthly increase, the cost of the average consumer's electricity bill has seen an increase of 92.2% within 15 years. This is shown by analysis carried out by FACUA-Consumers in Action, which illustrates that bills are 40 Euros more expensive than in 2003.

FACUA demands that the Government introduce genuinely effective measures to bring down prices and leave behind the stopgap solutions which consumers have seen recur in legislation after legislation. Lowering the VAT on light to 4% and the creation of a fully regulated tariff which the majority of families can have recourse to are the association's principal demands.

An analysis carried out by FACUA on tens of thousands of bills from occupied households indicates that in Spain an average user consumes 366 kWh per month at a contracted power of 4.4 kW. With reference to the semi-regulated tariffs applicable in each month of August, the bill has gone from 43.37 Euros in 2003 to 55.31 Euros between July and December 2008, to 74.81 Euros in August and September 2013, to 83.55 Euros in September 2018.

- In 2003, the average consumer (on a contract with the 2.0 tariff) was paying 43.47 Euros a month (35.65 Euros plus the 21.93% rate of VAT at this time).

- With the applicable tariffs between July and December 2008, the average consumer (on a contract with the 2.0.2 tariff) was paying 55.31 Euros per month (45.37 Euros plus 21.93% VAT).

- In August and September 2013, an average user on the Last Resort Tariff (former 100% Government regulated tariff) was paying 74.81 Euros per month (58.82 Euros plus 27.19% VAT).

- With the tariffs of September 2018, an average consumer subject to the Voluntary Price for Small Consumers tariff (the current Government semi-regulated tariff) who doesn’t have a smart meter is paying 83.55 Euros (65.69 Euros plus 27.19% VAT).

Price of a kWh up by 79.4%

FACUA's analysis shows that the fixed part of the bill has increased by 152.8% in fifteen years. The price of each kW of contracted power has gone, rounded to two decimal places, from 1.73 Euros/kW/month (1.42 Euros plus VAT) for the whole of 2003, to 1.99 Euros (1.63 Euros plus VAT) between July and December 2008, to 3.78 Euros (2.97 Euros plus VAT) in August and September 2013, to 4.36 Euros (3.43 Euros plus VAT) applicable from January 2017 to today.

In terms of the variable part of the bill, the price of consuming one kWh of energy has gone up by 79.4% since August 2003. This is its evolution, again to two decimal places: 9.80 cents (8.04 cents plus VAT) in 2003, 13.17 cents (10.89 plus VAT) between July and December in 2008, 15.90 cents (12.50 plus VAT) in August and September 2013, and 17.58 cents (13.83 cents plus VAT) in September 2018.

Demands to the Government

The association has submitted a report to the Government on FACUA's evaluations and proposals for supplying electricity, guaranteeing access for household consumers and fighting against fuel poverty. In this regard, FACUA condemns the opening of the sector to the market by the José María Aznar Administration which has been a genuine scam for consumers. FACUA also demands measures to curb the practices of an oligopoly which not only does not want competition, but which speculates on artificially inflated tariffs.

Lowering the VAT on electricity is one of FACUA's demands. Reducing it to 4% -the level of VAT applied to basic necessities, such as food, books and medicines- would save the average consumer almost 130 Euros a year. This figure is established in FACUA's analysis by taking the tariffs of the last twelve months between September 2017 and August 2017, with the current rate of 27.19% VAT applied, and comparing them with the 18 percentage point reduction which would be represented by the application of the super reduced tax rate of 4%.

The most important measure proposed by FACUA is the creation of a standard regulated tariff for all families whose usage doesn't exceed 10 kW of power and certain limits on consumption. Analysis carried out by the association's legal team has established that bringing in such regulation would not be in contradiction with EU legislation. The reality of out of control electricity prices, the domination of the sector by a few companies, and the economic situation of Spanish families justify the Government introducing a fixed tariff in order to protect consumers.

The association remarks that the Rajoy Government's policy of lighting bill discounts for low income families has been an even bigger failure than that of the socialist government of Zapatero. For one, the discounts it represents are insignificant and the level of income required to access it is excessively low – except for large families who can all benefit, regardless of income. Furthermore, many families remain unaware of the existence of these discounts, which they have to request directly from the electric companies, providing documentation of their income level and familial situation, meaning that a negligible percentage of potential beneficiaries even take advantage of it.

Electricity bills of the last 15 years

This has been an average consumer's monthly electricity bill (using 366 kWh at 4.4 kW) with the semi-regulated tariff between 2003 and 2018 (data taken from September of each year).

2003: 43.47 Euros

2004: 44.11 Euros

2005: 44.88 Euros

2006: 47.27 Euros

2007: 48.59 Euros

2008: 55.31 Euros

2009: 60.19 Euros

2010: 62.84 Euros

2011: 73.99 Euros

2012: 79.66 Euros

2013: 74.81 Euros

2014: 80.63 Euros

2015: 74.59 Euros

2016: 69.01 Euros

2017: 72.08 Euros

2018: 83.55 Euros