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Price per hour: what is the price of electricity today?

How much is your electricity consumption costing you right now? And during the next hour? We’ll give you the tips for always knowing how much you are going to pay for your energy.

Did you know that electricity varies in price from one day to the next? And not only that, it varies every hour of the day. We’ll explain how the price of electricity is determined, why these fluctuations occur and how to find out the price of electricity today.

In Spain there are two electricity markets, the free market and the regulated market. Your contract must state which market you are in regardless of the distributing company that supplies you with the energy.


The price of electricity today in the regulated market

Unlike on the free market, in the regulated market the electricity rate works by hours. This means that every hour of every day of the year, the price changes. If you want to know what price electricity will be tomorrow, you can check it on the Red Eléctrica Española website (REE). Every day, at 8 pm, the prices for the next day are available.

The option is the Voluntary Price for the Small Consumer rate or PVPC. Consumers enrolled in this scheme, which used to be called the Last Resort Rate, usually take advantage of the time to consume more in the hours where the price per kWh is lower, the off-peak hours. Like any consumer, they have a contract with their distributing company, which says that they belong to the regulated market and the PVPC model. The other half of the contracts in Spain work within this pricing model.

There is mobility between both markets, i.e. a client can ask his or her distributing company to change from a free market to a regulated market and vice versa. However, at Endesa we recommend that you speak to our experts. They will be able to advise you on the option that best suits you according to your situation.


The price of electricity today in the free market

In the free market, it is the distributing company that sets the price of the kWh. Normally, these companies have different types of rates that you can agree to, depending on your mode of consumption and your lifestyle. Practically half of Spanish households are part of the free market.

In this case, there is a fixed price agreed in advance between the customer and the distributor. Therefore, the customer always knows how much one kWh costs him or her at any time of day and on any day of the week.

Therefore, if you want to know how much you are paying at any time for your energy, you only have to look at your contract, check your rate and you will know how much you are paying for each kWh.


What influences the price of kWh on the regulated market?

If you monitor prices in the regulated market throughout the year, you will see that they vary significantly. There are several reasons why the price of kWh goes up or down.

Power generation has a variable cost

Like any activity, generating electricity has a price. A solar panel installation costs money, as does its optimisation, monitoring and maintenance. For power that depends on a raw material, such as thermal energy, the price of the raw material must also be taken into account. Regarding oil, you only have to follow the changing price of crude oil to get an idea of its impact on the generation of one kWh from this source.


Power generation is not always constant

The same amount of energy is not always produced. Take renewable energy, for example. There are cloudy days, on which the sun cannot be used for solar thermal power plants. There are periods of drought, which reduce the flow of rivers and limit generation in hydroelectric plants.

It should also be borne in mind that power generating companies make decisions on how much to produce based on lots of factors: whether there is going to be enough demand, whether the price they will receive per kWh will be profitable etc.


Energy demand is not always constant

There are times of the day, month or year when the demand for electricity in our country rises or falls. We know that in the coldest months we usually turn on our heaters, while in the hotter months we turn on our fans or air conditioners. It is also clear that most people sleep at night, reducing energy consumption.

Therefore, the higher the demand for energy, the higher the prices that the distributing companies will pay per kWh. And the opposite is also true. For this reason, in off-peak hours, those with the lowest demand, you will see that the regulated market prices are usually lower.

In this scenario, it is logical to think that a consumer with a regulated tariff can concentrate their energy consumption and take advantage of the hours in which a kWh is cheaper in order to save money. However, on many occasions it is inevitable that electricity consumption coincides with peak hours and not with off-peak hours. Let's take an example: not everyone can wait until 1 am to use their washing machine, nor can everyone at home endure summer only using the air conditioning from 3 to 5 am. This must be added to some consumption that’s constant, such as that of a fridge. And we cannot forget the uncertainty that the variation in the price of energy can generate: if you need to use the washing machine and the price of kWh is through the roof, how many days can you delay the laundry so that it comes out at the best price?

To help this situation, the distributing companies have designed tariffs on the free market that are adapted to the lifestyle and concerns of consumers, optimising the price per kWh.

Endesa's Hourly Electricity Rates, Tempo Rates, include variations in the price of the kWh so that customers have some off-peak hours, where the price of energy drops or even becomes free. By looking at the features of each tariff, you can easily find out in advance how much electricity costs you today, every hour of the day.

Endesa's One Tariffs, on the other hand, maintain a stable price per kWh, to provide service to those customers who do not want to depend on schedules. That way, you know that you always have a constant price and you don't have to check the price of electricity today.

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