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Electricity rates for second homes: everything you have to take into account

Even if we only spend a little time each year in our holiday home or if we are only there at the weekends, we must try to choose the electricity rate that meets two very clear objectives. The first is that it covers all our needs without causing problems both when it comes to energy consumption or maintenance. The second is that it is the most efficient in terms of cost. Here, we explain all the key points.

In the same way that we look for the best electricity rate depending on the characteristics of our main residence and our habits, it is just as important that we do this with our second home, taking into account that the differences can be very significant.

The biggest difference is that, unlike our main residence, we spend much less time in these homes, often concentrated at one time of the year (generally during the summer) or on certain days, such as weekends. But this is not the only difference, their size or the fact that they are in more climatically exposed areas such as on the coast or in the mountains means that they have particular characteristics. All of this must be taken into account when choosing the best rate, let us tell you why.

 

Power rating, a key concept

Put simply, our electricity bill has two main components: one fixed, the contracted power rating, and the other variable, the consumption, and both must have different characteristics in the case of a second home, both to optimise spending and also to avoid making mistakes that can be harmful.

This is usually very common with the power rating. As owners are absent for long periods, even many months a year, paying a fixed amount for this item can seem an excessive expense and there is a tendency to contract a very low power rating. The problem is that when we are in our second residence and we consume electricity, this power rating may be insufficient and thus cause power cuts. Therefore, when determining what power rating to contract, it must always be the right one, with a small safety margin, which guarantees all the electrical devices can operate safely.

In short, a practical exercise must be carried out to verify that the correct power rating has been chosen for effective operation. It should be neither too high, thus making the bill too expensive, nor too low and constantly cause power cuts. All this, bearing in mind that lowering the power rating is free, but asking for it to be raised implies a cost that may be significant.

To do this, you can first turn on all the electrical appliances and thus check that it is sufficient. Then, only turn on those appliances that need to be run simultaneously (for example, a washing machine and the oven at the same time). If the trips don't jump in the first test, the power rating may be too high, on the other hand, if there are problems in the second test, it may be insufficient. Therefore, it is always necessary to find this balance.

 

Consumption and special tariffs

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Another common mistake is to think that, as we only spend a short time there, we should opt for a standard rate with respect to the variable part for the kWh we consume, when it is likely you will be able to find other savings with hourly discrimination or even with flat rates. 

Regarding the first point, often our habits in our second homes are more constant, clear and differentiated, than in our usual home, with shorter stays in the home and having them all concentrated in one time slot. For example, in a second home on the coast, it is normal that many hours of the day are spent outside, at the beach or pool, and you are only at home at night. It will also be in those hours, for example, when high consumption appliances such as washing machines are used or air conditioning systems are switched on, which use a lot of electricity. In these cases, having a cheaper rate for electricity consumed during the time slot when you are at home will translate into significant savings.

Also, the less you stay in the home throughout the year, the more predictable your electricity consumption will be, as it changes little over the long term. Yes, there will be peak months, but most are "off-peak" with hardly any expense. This stability can make it better to choose a flat rate with a personalised fixed fee and no limit on consumption. These types of rates also help us to better control our expenses in the knowledge that we will always be paying in a steady fashion, as would happen when you enjoy a longer stay in your second home.

 

Maintenance a fundamental factor

Finally, an essential aspect and also one which is traditionally forgotten is to include a maintenance service in our electricity contract. If a breakdown at our usual place of residence is a big inconvenience, going to your second home for a few days and finding problems there is even worse. Furthermore, these problems, precisely because you do not normally live there, are often difficult to detect.

Contracting a maintenance service helps in two ways. First of all, of course, it helps repair a breakdown quickly and inexpensively. And secondly, and sometimes even more importantly is the fact that it helps with regard prevention. Periodic servicing helps to detect faults and thus the installation will be in perfect condition before holidays or short breaks.

In short, believing that spending less time in a second home means paying less attention to which electricity rate you choose is a big mistake, the same as looking for savings at all costs by cutting back on key essentials such as the power rating. You always have to look to make sure all your needs are covered, but also to take advantage of the opportunities that lifestyle habits which are different from your day-to-day can offer you.

Comparison of Electricity and Gas Tariffs

You don't need to adapt to Endesa's tariffs because they adapt to you. If you go to our catalogue you can compare the different tariffs for yourself. Or if you prefer, you can answer a few questions about your consumption habits and we will take care of comparing all the different electricity and gas tariffs and then make a customised recommendation.

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