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Utilities in Portugal

Portugal

Electricity: An application for connection or transfer of supply should be made to Energia de Portugal (EDP). The waiting period is usually a few days if all of the infrastructures are in place. You can either go to your local EDP office, or alternatively you can do this via the EDP website - www.edp.pt.

If you register with the EDP website, you can not only set up contracts but also provide accurate meter readings, change tariffs and carry out various other services online.

Bills are bi-monthly and estimated. One accurate reading per year is usually carried out.

The power supply can be altered in order to pay reduced tariffs between midnight and 9 A.M. if you request this.

If buying a property without electricity, check with EDP directly that you will be able to connect and if so, how much it will cost. It can often be a long, tricky and very expensive procedure.

Gas: Mains gas is available in bigger towns and cities. An application for connection or transfer of supply should be made to Galp Energía - www.galpenergia.com.

Garrafas de gás (gas bottles) are commonly used, especially in areas where there is no mains gas. The gas is normally butane, but propane is also available. It can be bought in small quantities. Bottled gas is often used in calor gas-type heaters to heat houses that do not have central heating and also to heat water via an esquentador (water heater).

In addition to the cost of the gas, a deposit is usually required for the first bottle bought. From then on, the empty bottle can be exchanged when paying for a full one. You can buy bottles of gas at supermarkets, petrol stations and hardware stores. You can also have gas bottles delivered to your home.

In rural areas, gas is often stored in a large tank outside the house. Generally, the tank is installed by the gas company and remains their property. A supply contract needs to be signed and you will be charged for a fixed minimum usage of gas per year. Property insurers will need to be informed if you have a gas tank.

Water: Mains water is available in bigger towns and cities. An application for connection or transfer of supply should be made to the local Câmara Municipal (council) or water board. For details of the local water board, go to www.adp.pt.

In rural areas, you may gain your water supply by various other means e.g. a furo (borehole), a poço (well), buying from a neighbor or the bombeiros (local fire service), who will deliver it to a cisterna (water tank) on the property.

If you are buying a property with a borehole, make sure that it has an up-to-date licence called an Alvará de Licença de Captação de Águas Subterrânea from the Ministe´rio do Ambiente (Ministry of the Ambient) and gets passed on to you by the previous owner.

Mains water supply is limited to a fixed, metered amount per house. An annual consumption exceeding the fixed amount must be paid for. Hosepipes do not require a specific contract except in the case of swimming pools.

Bills are bi-monthly and estimated. One accurate reading per year is usually carried out.

Sewage: As per water, sewage will come under the responsibility of the local Câmara Municipal (council) or water board. However, rural properties will not be on mains drainage and therefore should have a fossa (septic tank).

Note that boreholes and septic tanks that empty into the water table or soil also need to be registered with another authority called the ARH (Admministração da Região Hidrográfica). Likewise, springs, rivers, dams, reservoirs, lakes, ponds and wells on a property must be registered.

Telephone: Portugal Telecom (PT) - www.telecom.pt is the national supplier of telephone landlines. There are also a variety of other companies offering telephone services at competitive rates. However, in some areas the line rentals are still owned by PT.

If there is no phone line to the property, check with PT if it will be possible to install one and the likely costs and timescale involved.

Bills are usually monthly and telephone calls are cheaper between 9 P.M. and 9 A.M. and at weekends.

Internet: There are several companies offering a variety of packages and rates, which may include broadband, TV and telephone.

If you need Internet access, check with the various service providers that you will be able to connect to broadband and the likely speeds.

Note: Check that all utility bills are paid in full before buying or renting a property or you could become liable for any debts. Take readings from the meters so that you can check any bills you later receive.