Should owners of empty homes cut off their water and electricity supplies? (Part 2)

Last week we were looking at the dilemma of cutting off the companies' services of our empty property or of a property that it is only occupied for a short period every year.


Is it worth it or is it better to just pay the minimum bills and keep connected?

We came to the conclusion that that when you have an uninhabited house, to unsubscribe from all services and supplies because if services are kept connected, minimum consumption charges must be paid to the supply companies. So, having an empty property means to confront with minimum domestic bills which now days they are not so minimum.

When one can anticipated that a building will be empty for less than year or so, it is better to keep paying the minimum charges rather than terminate contracts.

The reason behind it is that there are costs associated with re-connecting essential home supplies. It is not a free process. In addition to payment for the reinstatement of supplies there is something much worse. Yes you guessed it, the Spanish bureaucratic process of re-connecting services. You must provide a photocopy of identity card, photocopy of the document which certifies the right to occupy the property (deeds, lease, etc.), and an official electric bulletin from a certified electrician plus a Spanish bank account details etc.

The annual price of just keeping supplies connected could be 450€.

All this involves a series of steps involving an expenditure of time and money. While, keeping the minimum cost of all basic supplies connected in an empty house can amount to about 450 Euros a year.

We also concluded that there may be problems when reconnecting services such as water and electricity we may faced with complicated bureaucratic paperwork and what it is worse "expensive" outlays to pay for official electrical bulletin or defective electrical installation that must be put right before a new reconnection is allowed.

Water supply.

Take for instance water. If you decide to terminated the contract so as not to pay minimum charges when you apply to be reconnected it could be denied for different reasons.

If the installation in general, do not comply with the current national regulations and especially specific regulations of the supplying company are not met. Here you have to understand that each supply company has its own regulation that although they are similar they are not all the same throughout Spain.

Or if the applicant does not have a main external water connection according to the latest specifications of the water company or do not dispose of sewerage connection permit for wastewater.

The water supply contract is carried out for an indefinite period; although the subscriber may terminate it at any time provided that this decision it is communicate to the supplying entity about a month in advance.

And what about the gas supply?

The right to connect implies an initial amount that is payable to the distributor company. The usual amount to connect to a supply of gas is about 70 Euros, regulated in the Decree 135/2008 of 15 July on piped gas services, where these cost are indicated.

To reconnect a supply, the amount to be paid is double the amount of connection, which i.e. around 140 Euros (VAT included) which incidentally should also be paid when power is restored after a reconnection due to a default on the monthly bill.

However, caution should be exercised, since the distribution company may refuse to make the reconnection, if the applicant's premises do not meet the technical and safety regulatory conditions or the user has been declared a bad debtor of any distribution company by a final court judgment.

The duration of gas supply contracts are yearly and tacitly renewed for equal periods, although the consumer can unsubscribe of a supply before the end of the contract, provided that they give written notice to the distribution company in an official way with a minimum of six working days.

When the house is to be uninhabited for different periods of time throughout the year, the ideal is to use bottled gas or electricity for cooking and water heating. With butane gas is not necessary to pay a connection charge, one only pay for what it is consumed, i.e. the price of the bottle.

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As it is impossible to know in detail every case asked in this blog, all our replies are given in good faith but we strongly suggest that you obtain private advice from a solicitor /and /or  architect who will be able to study in depth your own particular case.

Al ser imposible conocer en profundidad cada caso, todos los consejos y contestaciones a la preguntas realizadas en este blog, los consejos dados son propiciado en términos generales por lo que se deberá contrastar con el asesoramiento privado de un abogado  y/o un arquitecto para estudiar en profundidad su caso.