Utilities – Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste

Moving to another country requires a lot of research and when looking for accommodation expats must consider the true cost of utilities.


The electricity runs on 220 Volts in most areas of the country, but in other areas it runs on 110 Volts. The prices of electricity prices was one of the cheapest in Europe but lately it has been increased with companies offering different rates depending on the property’s power rating.

Grupo Endesa is the largest electricity supplier in Spain with other small suppliers available such as Union Fenosa and Iberdrola. In most areas expats will only be able to connect to Endesa as this is the only supplier available.

Property owners can expect many power cuts which are caused by weather conditions or routine maintenance checks where houses can be without power for a few hours to a few days. In some areas houses may need a generator to be able to connect to electricity due to not being any main electrics.

To connect to electricity you will need to contact the customer services of the company for it to be installed; you should note installations and new meters being fitted can take a while so this should be arranged before moving into the property. To get connected you may need to provide documentation to the electricity company such as a passport, a copy of an electricity bill, rental agreements and bank account details.

The tariff will then be used to calculate the charges of electricity depending on how much is used and then monthly bills will be sent after the meter has been read. If meters are not read by the company, they can estimate it and send you the bill, this is usually shown. Paying for a bill can be done in different ways i.e. direct debit, post office, at banks and in cash although there may be a charge for this.


Expats buying property should be provided with water bills from the tenant so that water connection is reconnected. Along with this other documents may need to be required including a copy of the rental contract, photo ID and bank account details. The payment of the contract fee should be paid before the water is connected again.

Water shortages are constant and in some areas there possibly will be restrictions on how much you can use. It is said that out of all of Europe, Spain has the highest water usage and because of the shortage in rural areas they will only have access to tap water for few hours in the day.

The water in Spain varies depending on what area you are living in and in the hard water areas a water softener will help reduce the build of scale. It is very important that the drinking water is kept on a separate supply if there is a water softener system in your home.

As well as this, the water prices have increased and people are using less water than before especially if the water is supplied by a pump. If this is the case, when there are power cuts then the water supply will be lost too. In rural areas, water is delivered by a tanker and the water gets filled upon request, this is generally charged per litre along with a delivery charge.

Hot water supply in the country will come from a boiler and this powered electrically or by bottle gas. The gas boilers are more expensive to buy and fit but have a low charge for it to run. There must be enough water supplies in your boiler for the whole family to use.

In majority of the areas in Spain, the supply of water controlled by the local authorities but there private companies available who you can connect your water with.


Gas is available in the larger cities and is supplied by the company Gas Natural. To connect to gas you will need to contact the company for them to switch it on and provide documentation including passport bill, utility bill and a signed contract. Once you have signed up the meter will then be read

Expats living in an area which does not have a gas main, then you will need to purchase bottled gas from supermarkets or petrol stations. There are also gas suppliers who will deliver bottled gas to your home. A deposit for the gas bottle will need to be paid and appliances will be serviced every five years. Usually gas bottles can be used for 6-8 weeks.

Bills are sent every two months which include VAT and are paid via direct debit, on the phone with a debit card or by paying over the counter at a bank.

Waste Disposal

The collection of waste is dependent on which region you are living in and in the urban areas the houses will not be provided with individual bins, although there are communal bins places around the area. There are specific times when you should be putting pit the rubbish and this is usually in the evening time.

Expats wanting to dispose of large items, you will be required to contact the local town hall who will assist you on how these items can be collected or where the recycling points are. Individual bins are generally cleaned on a regular basis by contractors who do charge for this.