How many kilowatts? At what price!!!

Kensington2 Image
07/17/2011 - 07:30

Hi, I am currently having a house built in Tuscany and it has been suggested to me that I will need about 15 kilowatts of electricity to serve the house properly. As most Italian homes seems to have about 3kw I think that this may be excessive but I am willing to go along with it. My question is this. How much will the standing charges be for this amount of electricity supply. I assume that Enel will not supply 15kw for the same price as 3kw.



At current rates on a D3 tarrif, you will pay 1.17210 Euro per kw supplied. Usage Kwh rates are the same. If you have geothermal, then you can opt for the special BTA3 tarrif to supply that alone at al less cost for the Kwh rate.

Badger is spot on, but think he forgot to add per month. So for 15kws your standing charge will be about euro 17.5 per month as compared to euro 5.5 for 3kws. And as he says actual usage costs are the same. Be aware, however, that you may have to update your mains input cables. I must say that it always surprises me why more people do not go for a higher power input.

Gosh, I'm surprised that one needs 15Kw !! We have a four bed/3 bathroom house on two levels, pool pump, electric oven, toaster etc etc, Strimmer, hedge trimmer etc etc.    all the rest is mainly gas and when I look at our actual 'current' usage, it is rarely more than 4Kw. The pool pump runs MAINLY after midnight, (for cheaper tariff) but does kick in a few times during a day S

Probably at heart I am a contadino, but I have absolutely happily run a biggish private house with frequent guests, a biggish swimming pool and everything dependent on pumped well water, on 6.6KW. All domestic hot water was electric. It didn't take much management. If you are going for electric geothermal then that is another issue, but for straightforward domestic use, even as relatively extravagant as were my demands, IMO if you can't cope on 6.6KW you need to understand load factors etc. Bestest and cheapest option (if you are resident) is to learn to live with 3.3KW - it isn't impossible by any means (even without commune water).

In reply to by Ram

Ram. Think you can have as many Kw as you want. Yes maybe the lines need upgrading, but that was no problem here 7 years ago. Fillede: 6.6 Kw would have put limits far too low on what we wanted to use. Heat pump input 2.2 Kw, electric oven 3.0Kw. In winter with washing machine/ tumble dryer etc all working at the same time. We prefer to have the power available when needed and not worry about the few extra euro supply cost.

For sure, your heat pump is sacrosanct, and that means you're not using other fuel sources, which is why I said 'unless you are doing geothermal electric'. However - are you truly so disorganised that you can't arrange your life so that the cooker is never on at the same time as the dishwasher, or that you are incapable of resisting the urge to turn on the washing machine while you are boiling a kettle? I jest - but it really is incredibly simple (if finances are a problem) to live with  a minuscule supply, and sensible power management. the man in the blue shirt here is very convincing about running a pool pump on 200 Watts. It sounds too good to be true but there are now quite a few of these pumps humming away round here. There is a cheaper and simpler manually switched version which is a better bet than the programmable one shown here. Payback is about 3 years.

When we first came here we were forever having to go outside and reset the big switch but now have acquired the Italian ability to do a swift mental calculation when switching on or off electric kettles, microwaves etc. A useful tip is to remember that anything that heats uses plenty of juice - electric kettles can be up to three kilowatts now I have been told. 15 kw sounds like a heck of a lot so perhaps the 6.6 kw option would be sufficient.

Our Electric fan oven, bought in Italy (IKEA) and superb to cook with, uses only 1 kilowatt. We found the very worst thing to use was an electric kettle brought from England. We quickly switched to one we could use on our gas hob and now we have no problems with a 3kw supply even with an electric scaldobagno on all the time.

I too live (nowadays) with 3.3kW - and I use a 2.5kW kettle because when I want hot water from the kettle I want it NOW! My oven (ILVE) heats up so quickly I don't believe (but it's only 60cm wide - I have friends with the 90cm versions where they clearly use the same elements and they lament how long they take to warm up). I can use (if I'm being really silly!) the washing machine and the dishwasher simultaneously (but I know I can't use the vacuum cleaner at the same time) - and my iron is quite greedy on the juice too. Maybe the thing is whether 'you' are in control. If you have 'daft' family or guests it could become distracting to have to reset the overload trip every so often. Another consideration is how your electrician has disposed the circuits - too frequently they put all the bathrooms on one ten amp circuit, and hairdryers are pretty power hungry - so at 7pm that circuit will trip - nothing to do with your ENEL availability. Like many things in life, it is about understanding, and about good design.   Ours is invaluable and very educational. We run a big house with pool pump, 1 leccy oven, 2 washing machines and this lets us know if we are reaching our 6.6 capacity and equally what any appliance is costing us to use, its quite changed my thoughtless past could use it in the uk and see how much you use there to judge if you really need 15k here..

Have been trying to find full tariff info on Italy Powered, as sure there is a catch somewhere. The website seems to just put the headine rate and very little else. Maybe they only supply up to 3Kw at those prices. Hopefully will get some details from my office soon.

Kensington, Badger, et al: there are some strange figures being bandied about.  Let's get to the bottom of things: My last ENEL bill works out to 22.45 c/kwh (€326.21 for 1453 kwh on a 6 kwh supply) On the ItalyPowerd website there was - until this morning - a sample bill showing clearly that buying from them entailed an effective price of 32.73.  A second sample bill, which has also been taken down - I wonder why - showed lower usage which pushed up IP's effective to 48 c/kwh (due to high fixed charges). So their strapline: "Save up to 60%..." should read "Spend 30% more..." Interesting mistake, coupled with disinformatiion, on their front page:  

  1. Choose from either a fixed rate of 0.75 cents per KWh, or our "twin hour" option: 0.84 cents per KWh peak rate and 0.69 cents per KWh evenings and weekends.
  2. No hidden extras for non-residents

Er, 'scuse me, I can only guess that there's a decimal point in the wrong place.  But nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, on the site is shown all the blah blah stuff added on that trebles/quadruples the actual charge on the bottom line. Hope this makes sense and helps people.

Just dug our last bill out from Enel for August and September, when we were home all the time and the apartment was fully booked, 84.40 e. So it is possible to run on 3.3kw...and try to be green at the same time. We have gas condensing boilers no dish-washer, and no pool, but cannot say that we feel deprived or  frugal, just needed some thought at the begining. We do use a micro-wave and an electric toaster, its just a different mindset to get into.

"So it is possible to run on 3.3kw..."  My holiday place runs fine on 3.3kw - we have washing machine, dishwasher, electric oven microwave and toaster, all on electric.  Gas hob and non-electric kettle As long as you are sensible on what you switch on - its fine. I often think that all new places in UK should be only supplied with 3kW - in the long term it might help solve the energy crisis

Just to add another thought....I'm told that in other countries (USA, S. Africa, Australia etc) many people now have solar-powered pumps  / filters  for their pools...apparently they work very well - and simply involve a fairly small - dedicated "panel" closeby.  Likewise for well-pumps...(and of course pool heating that most people are familiar with anyway). Although I think I might be  a bit worried about maintenance repairs etc - it might still be worth considering buying such a pump / filter elsewhere and bringing it over...I haven't ever seen them advertised here - but you may be able to track them down Electric water heaters are one of the major culprits for high bills....when I first moved into this house, and had to use one for the first time, countless people told me the cheapest way to run it was to keep it going the whole time, so that it only ever need to top up the temperature.  Idiot me believed them! As finances are tight - a few years ago I decided to lower the temp of the water heater, so that basically when showering I didn't have to add any cold water at all.  For washing up - I boil a kettle to make the water that bit hotter.  That certainly brought the bill down - but the difference is even more noticeable now that I only turn the heater on overnight / first thing in the morning (in the summer I get up about 5a.m. so its not a problem!) so that the water is hot by 7a.m. when I turn it off.  One way or another, my elec. bill is now half what it was...Oh yes - I also try only to use the washing machine on a Sunday - at the cheapest rate - not always possible, but...

Well, it seems nobody reading the forum is with ItalyPowered or at least owning up to it.  What about any other suppliers in Italy?  It seems unbelievable that the industry was (sort of) deregulated years ago, yet everybody is still stuck with ENEL at 25c/kwh or more.  In UK every user in the country must have a choice of 12 suppliers or more, at rates below 17c/kwh on average. Haven't researched extensivly but must say have drawn a blank so far.  Anyone out there with any suggestions/experience to pass on? There's another thread about photovoltaics - foreign owners with established residence should look that subject up. Ciao tutti, per ora!

I moved from vanilla Enel to Enel Energia (which apparently is a different company!) My deal wouldn't suit everyone, because it gives me ridiculously cheap electricity from 7pm until 7am, and on wekends and festas, but gets relatively expensive in peak hours. Anyway, my bills for two months used to be about €45, and now they are about €60 for three months. - so a small but not insignificant saving (though my mode of living meant I didn't have to make any variatons to majorly use my electrical supply at night, and I can see this would be difficult for some). I have other friends who are happy with Edison: they pay a flat rate 24/7, and they report greater saviings than I've seen.

I have just received my first bill from ItalyPowered (acyually DSE) and guess what? They are more expensive than ENEL, and I am on the 6kW D3 tariff! Maybe they offer a saving on the D2 tariff - who knows? Clearly they have not done their homework, and neither did I! On my ENEL bill for 220kWh/month DSE was about the same, about 0.3 €/kWh, on a higher bill for 258kWh it was 0.223 €/kWh. I was pretty hacked off with ENEL, they charged me €500 to go from 3kW to 6kW, and changed me to non-resident as a result, so I believed ItalyPowered when they assured me I would be better off - sucker! So I'm searching eBay for a diesel generator at the moment....

I was being slightly facetious, however according to Wikipedia costs are low:

  • Fuel cost 11p - 16p/kWh (using red diesel at 40p/litre)
  • lifetime engine maintenance about is 0.5p/kWh - 1.0p/kWh

So one could put together a hybrid diesel/PV system that would eliminate the dreaded ENEL. I doubt if it would pay for itself in my lifetime!   I am considering a simple PV system, now that the panels are getting cheaper. Just hook up a 1kW array to a 1kW immersion heater in my DPS heat bank for near 100% efficiency, but that simply saves on LPG, not mains power. The 'full monty' PV systems are not really viable yet in my opinion, which is why I suppose all the roofs of industrial buildings are not covered with PV panels, but are restricted to 'green' enthusists!   So pay up and look pretty I'm afraid.

Twentyknots...... very interesting views on the diesel generator.... I calculate that the running costs are in the same ball park as the dreaded gas but are you factoring in connecting the engine cooling system to your DPS tank? In theory that should make it twice as good. I have supplied loads of DPS tanks in Umbria so I'd be interested in what you propose. Most of the installations here have a DPS heat bank married to a Clearview 750 stove and they heat a whole house for €1,200 so I guess you must be nearly there in energy costs and just need to tame the electricity bills. You should have another look at PV as this will be able to make enough to pay your Enel bills and make you really ZERO COST. The reason why there are fewer industrial sized PV arrays is that it has been hard to get permission but domestic ones are just the same as before. While tariffs have fallen the PV prices have fallen in line so the return on capital is the same but the 'power for money' is miles better. eg a 6kW ground array = under €20,000. Demand for PV systems round here has never been higher so I'd check it out. If you need a local guy to talk to I could probably produce a name from the PV trusted alliance, which is a cowboy free installer list. Your immersion heater idea would be spot on as the DPS tank has a 3kW one as standard. We have done a solar switch which runs the immersion whenever the sun shines enough and that works a treat.

I switched to Enel energia  a couple of years ago, after they phoned offering amazing deal that would reduce my bill. My winter bill went up from €250 bi-monthly to €888, they would not let me switch back to enel until I cleared the debt so I was stuck with them for another four months-  Never again!

Bunterboy -  the Clearview 750 with flat top and 7kW clip in boiler base price is £2,018 inc VAT. Colour adds £54 and UK delivery £49.  If you are buying a stove give good thought about the back boiler. The cast iron ones can crack after a few years and write off the stove... the answer is the stainless steel clip in boiler which allows the stove to last a lifetime. This stove gives 7kW to air and 7kW to water and is enought to do all the heating and hot water on most houses for about 100 quintale of wood.. i.e. about €1,200.  There is often one in the pipeline so transport costs can sometimes be shared. switch.  Sounds interesting :)  We've just had a 6Kw array installed and Sagriasolar's figures are correct re. panel price.  If you're going to do it though, you really have to get a move on to get the most out of the incentives as they're dropping quickly at the moment.  In January they'll drop 2 cents and then they should remain unchanged until June at which point they'll drop another 2 cents.  Whilst for many, the 'planning' application is relatively straight-forward & quickly approved, ENEL are a completely different kettle of fish!  We waited almost 3 months for them to simply survey the line to tell us we can actually do it!  Since then another month has passed and we're still not actually grid-tied - still awaiting the 'appointment.' sigh...!

Sent a email to the above out of interest. My question and their answer below. There must be a catch somewhere, which is probably after the 1st year finishes: I did forget to ask the charge for switching unfortunately!! "Message: Having looked at your site and sample bills, could you please give an idea of what my costs may be for one year, based on my normal supply and usage in Italy? House supply 15 Kw, 3 Phase as use a heat pump. Average annual consumption 10000Kwh." "Ok it's a very simple sum. Look at your current bill and take the "rete" charge for the line which is basically fixed each month and add that to this sum for the KWH used  10000 x 0.071  =  710.00 Euro for the year before the "Rete" Line charge. Best Regards, Italy Powered Team"