Is it true that there are times of the day when electricity is free?


During the last few months, we have become accustomed to reading in different media that, for a certain number of hours a day, electricity will be free. But is it really like that? We advance it to you: no. And this is the reason and its corresponding explanation.

As the price of electricity has become a concern from a social perspective, many specific applications have emerged to know what the cost per megawatt hour (MWh) is. In addition to different web pages that warn of electricity price to inform about the most favorable times in which to use it on those appliances that do not respond to a basic need.

When this information is carried out, we are often informed of a time slot in which electricity is completely free. But what is reality in it? It means that We are not going to pay anything during that time.regardless of consumption?

The key: the electric pool

to understand the price of electricity, There is a concept that must be clear: the pool. This concept refers to the main wholesale market for electrical energy in the Iberian market. According to it, products and marketers negotiate the purchase and sale of electricity, setting the price of energy for each hour of the day, one day in advance.

The operation is, in essence, simple: the energy generators indicate what is the minimum price at which they would sell their energy for each hour that is auctioned. The marketers, for their part, also indicate which the maximum price at which they shared the energy to, subsequently, distribute it among the population. When both points cross, it is the price at which it will be traded for that hour.

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Different changing factors intervene to determine the price, otherwise it would always be the same regardless of the time or day in question. The main ones are the following:

  • Climatic conditions: Climate has a direct impact on the production of renewable energy. When there are storms and a lot of wind is generated, for example, the pool price drops drastically, since there has been an increase in production as a result of the wind plants.
  • Raw materials, such as gas or coal, influence the cost of energy generation. If the price increases, the pool increases.
  • The demand is a key agent in the pool price, so when there is less demand, the pool price is lower to encourage consumption.


So is energy free?

No. Our electricity bill is involved two factors mainly. A part that has a direct link with the electricity market, the aforementioned pool. A second part that includes all the components that are regulated, such as taxes or generation costs, which must be detailed in the corresponding invoices.

When the expression is used that electricity for a limited number of hours, on a specific day, is free, it is because the hour-by-hour electricity in the market is 0 or close to 0. However, the fixed costs of the service which must be paid regardless of the cost in question.

One of the most important components that are present in the invoice are tolls and charges. The first of them is regulated by the CNMC and refers to the costs borne by electricity companies in terms of transportation and distribution. For its part, the charges are set by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and have a higher cost than tolls.

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