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Utility costs in Spain/Portugal  RSS feed

 
Posts: 8
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Howdy,

I'm working on a budget for a homestead in southern Spain and having a hard time estimating costs for utilities. I know the ideal situation is to live off-grid as much as possible, use solar panels, harvest rainwater and use firewood for heat. However, I'd like to budget for the possibility of that not being practical, at least for the first few years. Most estimates I've found for utilities online are focused on apartment dwellers who I would expect get better pricing than someone in a rural setting. Are you willing to share your location in the Iberian peninsula and how much you're paying for gas, electric, water, sewage and internet?

Also, what do you use for internet - is it cable, DSL or satellite?

Right now I'm budgeting around 225 euros per month. Ballpark estimates help and I do plan to visit the area to get higher confidence numbers.

Thank you in advance!
 
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Hi Fil,

I'm in Central Portugal - 1 hour South West of Coimbra. We are a family of 2 adults and 3 young children. We are still improving the land so currently we buy everything. Our heating is wood -plenty of that outside- but hot water is via bottle gas; Here is our breakdown per month-

Electricity €100
Gas €20
Mains Water €10 -  no sewage costs as we have a tank
Satellite TV, house phone, ADSL Internet €30
Local tax €20 - This is a low starting rate to encourage people to move into the area, it increases after 5 years, but no idea how much
Grocery €400
Car Insurance €60 (€360 annually)
Car Tax €5 (€60 annually)

I do know of other families living  off grid for utilities for about €5k /year.

I think self sufficient is impossible, I cannot grow replacement hard drives or spare parts for the car but I am confident survivable is possible.
It all depends on how much 'stuff' you need!

Best of luck

Dave

 
Fil Keller
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Thank you, Dave!

While the overall cost is lower than I expected, the electricity cost is higher than I budgeted for. Is electricity expensive in your area or is your family a heavy consumer?

Agreed the cost is directly proportional to the amount of stuff you need. The most expensive for me being a car. How do you get your car insurance rate so low - looks like 30 euros per month?
 
Posts: 27
Location: Arruda dos Vinhos, Portugal
4
forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Hello Permies
Hi Fil

We (three people) live 20 km's north of Lisbon, but...
In Portugal the costs for some utilities change a lot from place to place (County to County)
In the website of the ERSAR (Entidade Reguladora dos Serviços de Águas e Resíduos), you can consult water prices by municipality and by year, to compare the price of water between counties and between years. "AA" corresponds to water supply, "AR" to waste water and "RU" to urban waste.
Electricity: 50 euros/month (change a little from company to company)
Gás: 15 euros/month (change from company to company too)
To simulate and compare electricity and gas tariffs, you can use the following simulator, from DECO (consumer protection association)
Internet optical fiber high speed (100 mb), with landline phone (international calls included), and many tv channels: 37 euros/month
Car Insurance: 180 euros/annually, for a 1500 cc. diesel car.
Car Tax: (IUC - Imposto Único de Circulação) 32 euros/annually.
Car - Vehicle Inspection: Is more a less 30 euros/annually.

I hope I have helped you to clarify
Any more questions, feel free to put it

All Good for ALL

P.S. There are some permaculture projects in the area.
 
Fil Keller
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Thank you, Paulo. I am jealous of your fiber optic internet

One of the things that concerned me about Portugal is the cost of owning a car, and that it seems like the highways all require tolls. You're paying a great car insurance price and I'm wondering what kinds of cars you recommend for affordable transportation?

I was looking at a Honda Jazz because I know from my time in the US that Hondas are very reliable and should last many years. But they do seem to be expensive compare to many European car brands, many of which I don't know anything about.
 
Paulo Barros
Posts: 27
Location: Arruda dos Vinhos, Portugal
4
forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Hello Permies
Hi Fil

Fil, don't be jealous about my fiber optic internet, because almost all Internet services in Portugal, have the same characteristics.
Don't be concerned about the car...and yes, the highways have some systems of payment, but... don't be concerned about that too.
About the car insurance: there are prices since 120 euros/year for for borrowers of insurance who have been for many years without having any road accident.
About what cars I recommend...: For someone who wants to do permaculture, I recommend Vans, because you need to transport building materials, and other objects with some volumetry.
You can buy a renault, peugeot and citroen - french manufacturers; or fiat - Italian manufacturer; or mercedes-benz - German manufacturer; there are others, like Nissan, and more...
I have a renault with 13 years old, and untit present moment 0 problems.

I hope I have helped you

All Good for ALL
 
DaveY Cooper
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Hi Fil,

Portugal does have a modern telecom infrastructure because it has only recently been developed (recently by comparison to the US or Northern Europe).Yes fibre is in many places but notice that Portugal is a long thin country. Most people and therefore infrastructure is concentrated from the middle to the West - the ocean. To the East is much less developed and ADSL is still common outside the cities.  The telecom companies are notorious for never committing in writing, pestering you constantly and being very difficult to leave. I don't think this is unique to Portugal as the trend is growing everywhere. That said I find the prices for telecoms is about the same as anywhere else in Europe.

There are many Km's of toll roads, they are very nice roads because they are so quiet but not many people use them because of the fees. You can easily get around without the toll roads, it just takes a little longer. Actually all roads are quiet here because there are only around 10 million people.

Car insurance I find to be very cheap probably because I have a long history of no claims and my advanced years but the big difference here compared to the UK (I don't know how it's charged in the US) is the cost is not at all dependent on where you live -  it's based on you and the vehicle which is the same in Spain.

The cost of cars is insanely high in Portugal compared to most of the rest of Europe (including Spain), maybe because cars used to be seen as luxury items so the sales tax was based on ability to pay, for whatever reason it is still high.  Importing cars from anywhere else makes no difference as the tax is applied on registration.  I would take the good advice offered from Paulo and also suggest a van (because they are designed for the abuse and high mileage) if you intend to be in the boonies or into living partly off grid. The upside is that there is much less of a throw-away culture and consequently not so much negativity from owning a beaten up car -  there is a lot of snobbery in the UK for example where your car reflects your status.
Renaults, Citroen's and Peugeot's' are everywhere because they are cheap to buy initially, they fall apart quickly because they are designed to but I'd also suggest a common brand as much as I hate them - because there are plenty of spares and people with experience working on them. If you want Japanese for reliability, again a commercial vehicle or a pick-up would be the best bet. Don't ignore diesel, it's a much cheaper fuel than gasoline and the engines are less complicated and generally more reliable.

Best wishes

Dave



 
Fil Keller
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Thank you both. I've adjusted my expected utility budget down to 175 euros/month. I'll validate this is reasonable when visiting Spain this April.

I'm still going to try getting a Honda Jazz, which has a somewhat van-like body (tall hatchback), is fairly cheap and reliable. I drove a Peugeot rental car once and while it was pleasant, you could tell they are not built to last, at least not the newer models.

Finally, I'd like to think you both again People in Portugal seem to be so nice. However, it doesn't seem like Portugal has as many mountainous hiking options as Spain, and when there are mountains, they seem to be in the warm, less developed interior. This might exclude it as an option for living, but I will definitely have to visit
 
Paulo Barros
Posts: 27
Location: Arruda dos Vinhos, Portugal
4
forest garden hugelkultur trees
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Hello Permies
Hi Fil

I'm still going to try getting a Honda Jazz


I do not think it's a good option...but you will soon have a conclusion.

People in Portugal seem to be so nice


People in Portugal are like those of other countries, some are friendly, others are less friendly

it doesn't seem like Portugal has as many mountainous hiking options as Spain


Yes surely. Spain is a larger country with more mountains.

This might exclude it as an option for living, but I will definitely have to visit


I would visit both countries first, then I would decide ...quietly.

It's just my opinions

All Good for ALL
 
Fil Keller
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Paulo, I'll agree with you that I should visit Portugal and try the hiking there myself before deciding.

Regarding the car, let me share with you why I like the Honda and ask which specific alternative you think is better.

Let's take this used Honda, which costs about 12k euros: http://www.ooyyo.com/spain/c=CDA31D7114D2854F111BE56FBA36355B39A01D7B06F4866011143C5DBD643544CD831D/-6825470087817758549.html/

Given it's a Japanese car, it should be very reliable and it has a very practical interior with folding seats that allow for a lot of interior room: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbxQrtDUN20

If you wanted to buy a 3 year old used car, which one would you pick that you think is more practical?
 
Paulo Barros
Posts: 27
Location: Arruda dos Vinhos, Portugal
4
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Hello Permies
Hi Fil

For a example: a Renault kangoo --> https://www.olx.pt/anuncio/renault-kangoo-110cv-IDCw9ID.html#ed46a34a67

All Good for ALL


 
Posts: 7
Location: Switzerland / Portugal
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Hi Permies, hi Fil,

I'm in Portugal, Castelo Branco region.

Another internet option is satellite. I am too far out in the country that fiber will never be an option. I could have gotten DSL but it would have meant that I had to get both a fixed net phone and DSL internet. Satellite turned out to be cheaper than those two as well as much faster. I have a satellite packet with internet, TV and phone, I only use the internet but the rest came with it. It costs 48€ per month, the router was included for free in the package with a 2 yr contract. I'm satisfied with the connection, it's as good as my fiber connection was in Switzerland. Almost no outages except sometimes short disconnects during storms and good speed.

Regarding the hiking: It is of course also no problem to live in Portugal and go hiking in Spain And the interior isn't that bad for living.

Monika
 
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hello Fil , i am an owner of a kangoo mpv , and live rural ---i would be lost without it ---seats 5 people and plenty boot space , and the fold down/up back seats add even more boot--- any household furniture or large white goods can be transported---bales of hay ,crates of ducks , 3 large mastiff type dogs to the beach , bags of cement , my mini mixer and wheel barrow , moved several friends households with it and a trailer. Kids love it as has a high roof and big windows to look out. The bigger plus--- very common so lots of spares support and can be easily worked on ---many modern cars may be more reliable better mileage better looks more sporty and better interior---although i view the last two points as a negative in a slower paced ---sometimes mucky rural way of life ---i have done a bit of mechanics on all my cars to save money on labour costs ---not on cheap spare parts--reliability is more of a service issue than make or manufacture issue ---for most cars-----and i twiddle spanners with a mechanic friend when i drop in for a visit---even a simple service now costs more in labour than a lot of the service bits needed --as the amount of plastic boxes and panels and clips that have to be removed to do a simple spark plug change or oil filter--takes a long time ---Kangoos and maybe other small simpler vans are a doddle to work on ---either by your self or a local mechanic. The other plus i have ---if a numpty puts a small ding or scratch ---or even me---no big deal---gives you a bit of rural street cred--- and the other newer cars steer clear of you
 
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