Electric and water is not so simple in Spain

Connecting Electricity and Water – don’t get conned

If you live in UK, USA or Europe the chances are that your electric is there whenever you flick a switch and your water there whenever you turn on the tap.  Electric and water are a constant, all you have to do is pay the bill.  Buy or rent a new house you know that in 99.9% of cases there will be electric and water already installed and working.  You notify the supplier that you have moved in and arrange payment and that’s it.  Simple.  Not quite so simple in Spain.

Connection Possible

Estate agents commonly say mains electric and mains water connection is possible, it “just” needs reconnecting.   Imagine this said in an up beat and reassuring tone. You would be forgiven for believing that eclectic or water would be available with just one phone call or something as simple.  Sometimes it is.  Often times it isn’t.


Older properties – pre 1980

This is especially applicable to properties that haven’t been lived in for some time and especially if in the countryside.  Connection is often cut off by turning off the meter or cables/pipes disconnected.   This means less risk of squatters and no standing charge.  It could even be that the water and electric suppliers are owed money and disconnected due to lack of payment. More on this in a moment.

In a practical sense connection could be simply remade.  However – this word may be used quite a lot in this piece, the rules are that a bulletin (check by a qualified person and report submitted to the authorities) is needed for reconnection.   This will check that the cables or pipes are up to modern standards.  If they aren’t then you will, most likely, need to pay for them to be upgraded.  The costs could be a few thousand Euros.

WildWest of Spain

Estate agency is not regulated and the legal system to recoup any of your losses is not easy and can be expensive.  There are lots of good agents but also many who are super money focussed.  At the end of the day an estate agent is paid by the seller to sell the house.   There is no duty of care owed to you, the buyer.  Remember this and you will be better protected.

Asking questions and asking for things in writing is great protection for you.

Greta’s story

Greta found me on Facebook having bought a house from a local agent.  She was worried that she had been ripped off as the agent had asked for a payment of €10,000 for their commission on a total purchase price of €40,000.   They had also told her that the property “could be reconnected” to both water and electricity.  What they didn’t tell her is that she would be without water for 2 months and without electric for 1 month – whilst she lived there.   The preferred electrician and plumber of the agent (so that they could get a kick back fee) was busy elsewhere!. 

She kept asking and kept asking.  Eventually she took things into her hands and got her own plumber and electrician which cost a further €3,000 which was almost 10% of the purchase price.

Knowledge is power.  Greta certainly seems have been taken advantage of.  I hope that knowing her story and reading this blog helps you avoid such things.

New(ish) build villas

There are still villas which are on builders water or have pipes above ground in the street as they are illegal builds.  Some have been regularised but not all.  Builders water is not necessarily drinkable and can cost far more than mains water.  

Connection to electric has the same potential issues.

No current electrical or water connection, what then?

There are a few options open to you.  For water you can get it delivered to a large tank.  This is perfectly safe and pretty common.  You can get a quote to find out the costs locally.  Assume that you will use 200 litres of water per person per day, this is the average amount.  It seems a lot but you will be surprised how it mounts up with washing, cooking, drinking etc.

Some properties have yacimiento water or water rights to a local fuente – spring.  Yacimiento water is bought on a x amount of litres of water per y amount of days.  You pay once.

For power solar power could be an option.  Please do check the costs, independently from agents or their recommended suppliers before you commit.   Are there shadows for a large part of the day?  What would you do  if it is cloudy for a week?

It may also be possible to connect to mains water or power but again, get a quote from the electric or water supplier for connection in your area.  Sometimes it is fairly cheap sometimes it really isn’t.  Connection charges will be in addition to any works needed to add cables and pipes.


Take everything you are told by those with a vested interest in selling a property with a pinch of salt.  Get additional independent validation.   Lawyers will rarely go to site to check things but you can always ask on a local FB group or similar if someone will pop out to see the house you want.  Or find a local builder.  Google translate comes in very handy.

If you are a relocation client of mine then we will be on hand to help you spot pitfalls with a property, to ask the right questions and to research any oddities.   It is a very practical service to help you buy and move with confidence and clarity.

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