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Electricity bulletin: What is the CIE?

Not many people know this, but household electrical installations have a document that confirms that everything is in order. It is called a Certificado de Instalación Eléctrica (electrical installation certificate — CIE). Here we explain when you'll need it, how to get it, and how much it costs.

If you've decided to change the electrical power in your house, or if you’re going to enable a new supply, your path and that of the Electrical Installation Certificate (also called CIE) may cross.

 

The electric bulletin or CIE

This Electrical Installation Certificate is a mandatory document for all houses, whether newly built or second-hand. It certifies that the electrical installation is in good order and complies with all the technical requirements.

Like other inspections, it's an essential system to guarantee that the electrical installations don't constitute a hazard.

 

How much do you need it?

Normally, it's the distribution company that will request the certificate, and it'll do this via the marketing company.

Remember, your contract is with the marketing company, which issues your bills. The distribution company deals with the supply, meters, breakdowns, etc.

These are the 4 most common situations when you'll need your Electrical Installation Certificate or CIE:

1. You need to have electricity connected (because you're moving into a newly built house, for example): you will need to provide the certificate as part of the documentation. In this content we explain what to do with your electricity supply when you move.

2. You need more power: and when you make your calculations, you find that the contracted power you want exceeds the maximum stated on your certificate. In this case you will need a new certificate that certifies that it is safe to increase the power to your home.

3. You want to change your electrical installation from single-phase to three-phase.

4. Your certificate was issued more than 20 years ago and you need to make a change to your contract: although the certificate does not expire, it may need to be reviewed if these two circumstances arise at the same time (that more than 20 years have passed and you request changes to your contract). That's why, when purchasing a second-hand property, it is important for the seller to provide you with the CIE.

“The CIE is the document that certifies that your electrical installation is in good order.”

How do you get it?

You may find yourself in one of two quite different situations:

  • New electrical installations: that is, there is work to be done and naturally it will be the contracted electrician who will certify their work and issue a valid electrical certificate.
  • Electrical installations more than 20 years old: as we saw before, depending on the contract changes you request, your installation may need to be reviewed even if no changes are made to it. In this case a new certificate can be issued certifying an old installation.

Usually, there are no serious problems and the examination is over in less than half an hour. The document must then be registered with the official body, which doesn't usually take more than a week.

In the event that the technician is unable to complete the examination or finds some fault, it might take a little longer to issue your Installation Certificate.

 

What data does it include?

For your Electrical Installation Certificate to be totally valid, it must show:

  • Owner's details.
  • Address of the building.
  • Characteristics of the installation: use (domestic, office, hotel…), surface area, maximum permissible power, voltage, details of the General Supply Line, details of the individual branch, meters and details of the protection devices.
  • Distribution company.
  • Authorised installer company.
  • Verification measurements.

Among all these details, what should be of most interest to you is the maximum permissible power, as the supply you engage cannot exceed this figure. Remember, the more power you have, the more domestic appliances you can use at the same time without tripping the breaker switches.

 

How much does it cost?

The cost of the CIE is not regulated, and depends on a number of factors such as the rates of the electrician of your choice, the dimensions of the building or the taxes levied by each Autonomous Community.

When we talk about new electrical installations, the cost of the electricity certificate or CIE is included in the quote that you will be given for the work.

When we talk about an installation that is more than 20 years old, which needs to be reviewed and a new certificate issued, the electrician is free to charge any price. Since there are considerable differences between one professional and another, we recommend that you consider several options before hiring. The price bracket depends on many factors and shifts easily between 60 and 300 euro, as you can see if you perform an Internet search.

 

The Blue Bulletin or BRIE

In addition to the conventional installation certificate that is mandatory throughout Spain, in Catalonia the blue report or BRIE is also required.

This certificate is additional to the Electrical Installation Certificate, and the distribution company will ask you for it if you want to carry out certain procedures.

It expires after 6 months, and its purpose is to guarantee small modifications to the electrical installation.

“The price of the certificate is not regulated and can vary between 60 and 300 euro.”

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