Moving to Barcelona and want to know more about the cost of living in BCN?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
When looking for a flat to rent most people are dying to know how much utilities (gas, water, electricity, community, Internet) will cost per month but, obviously, everyone uses utilities differently so there is never going to be an exact, fixed answer.
Fortunately, we’ve got a lot of experience and can give you a pretty good idea of how much it’ll cost you overall.
Before reading all the juicy details, take a deep breath and relax…
Compared to other countries, utilities in Barcelona are quite cheap.
It’s definitely something to take into consideration when renting any apartment in Barcelona, but it’s not going to break the bank either.
Tip: Remember, in many countries it’s common for utilities to be included in the rent but in Barcelona this is not the case. Although you can sometimes find flats for rent that include utilities, 98% of the prices you see for apartments for rent in Barcelona do not include utilities (Except for Community Fees, which usually are included).
What are these community fees, you ask?
They’re a nominal payment that everyone in the building pays in order to have the communal areas of the building maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. Usually it’s about 50€ / month, and it is normally included in your rent.
When you’ve finally decided on your dream flat, the owner will want to make arrangements so that the utilities are paid by you directly.
Usually, you provide them with your Spanish bank account number and they then call the utility companies and change the bank details to yours. Then, when you are charged each month, the money comes out of your account automatically.
Since the bank info is changed, but nothing else, you should still get the bills in the mail so you can check to see that you are being charged correctly
Tip: Make sure that when you sign the contract on your new flat that the owner and/or agency reads the meters in the flat to record their respective numbers. That way you wont end up paying for part of what the tenant before you consumed.
Currently, the different utility bills in Barcelona come with the following frequency:
Gas: Gas bills used to arrive once every 2 months, but it seems as their systems have gotten better that it is now once every month.
Water: The water bill comes once every 3 months.
Electricity: The electricity bill comes once a month.
Internet: Internet is also billed once a month.
Community Fees: Usually monthly, but also usually included in your rent.
Utilities = Gastos, Suministros
Water bill = Factura de Agua
Electricity bill = Factura de Luz
Gas bill = Factura de Gas
Internet Bill = Factura de Internet
Community Fees = Gastos de Comunidad
It’s important to remember that certain appliances consume more energy than others, so you need to be keep an eye on what you’re using.
At the top of the list is air conditioning.
As centralized systems are not yet too common in Barcelona, many people have an external air conditioning unit that is controlled by a remote. These units suck electricity like crazy (and electricity is the most expensive utility of them all).
So if you are in the habit of leaving the house and keeping the air conditioning going while you’re out, you may very well have an unpleasant surprise come the end of the month.
Other energy suckers are clothes dryers and electric heaters with high voltage. As with the air conditioning units, anything that runs on electricity, and needs a lot of it, can cause your bills to jump and increase your cost of living in Barcelona.
At SuiteLife we believe that every single flat for rent in Barcelona should have Internet ready to go.
You won’t find many long term flats that will be ready with Internet running the day you move in.
In other countries this might seem absurd but in Barcelona, it’s just the way it is.
What you will find is that most flats are what they call ‘Internet Ready’ meaning that the phone line is already installed. If the line is installed already, all you need to do is phone the Internet provider of your choice and have them set it up, which usually takes about 2 days to have them come to your flat.
So our advice is don’t make Internet your first priority, even if you really need it, as you can always get this sorted pretty quickly.
OK, ok… back to the cost of living in Barcelona.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s very hard to estimate how much people will spend on utilities because it depends totally on the consumption and living habits of the specific people.
However, here is a good rule of thumb: Count on spending approximately 50 / per person / month on average over the year. This means if you’re two people you should plan on spending about about 100 / month.
But bear in mind that this is an average over the whole year so it can vary month on month. For example, you’re likely to have the heating on in winter so mind end up consuming more energy during these months.
Water: The main water company is called Agbar @: Torre Agbar, Avenida Diagonal 211 Tel: 933 422 000 Emergencies: 900 700 720 Customer Service: 900 710 710 Website: www.aiguesdebarcelona.es
Electricity: The main electricity company (they do gas as well) is Fecsa-Endesa Tel: 902 525 852 Emergencies: 900 770 077 Website: www.endesaonline.com
Natural Gas: The main gas company for natural gas Tel: 900 760 760 Emergencies: 900 750 750 Website: portal.gasnatural.com
That’s It! You should now be an expert, or at least have a clue about utilities and cost of living in Barcelona. If you think we’ve missed anything out about cost of living in Barcelona or have any helpful tips we’d love to hear from you!