Setting up utilities is the priority after renting or buying a house in Portugal. Electricity and water are basic necessities; gas is an option; phone and Internet service are pretty much crucial in today’s world. However, setting these up after moving to a completely different country can be a headache, so we’ve throughly assembled this guide to help you out. When you partner up with Pearls of Portugal, we can take this process off your hands.
There are some basic documents you need in order to sign any type of utility contract in Portugal:
If you’re moving into an apartment, the water and electricity metres (“contadores”) are usually in the building lobby or on your floor. If you have built a house from scratch, then you’ll also need to get the equipment installed.
The better known provider in Portugal is EDP. Some other options are Endesa, Galp Energia and Iberdrola. This is the simplest of all utilities processes – you can get it all done via phone call and instant messaging. With EDP, you’re certain to be able to talk to someone who’s fluent in English. All you need to provide in the phone call is your personal information, equipment number and address. Then, you’ll be asked to send over your proof of residence via WhatsApp or e-mail – it’s quite simple.
Buildings built nowadays (especially apartment complexes) are usually only dependent on electricity, with no need for gas. However, if that’s not the case for you, you can just get it added onto your electricity contract.
An electricity-only contract is cheaper than electricity + gas, especially since gas prices have been going up immensely. Still, energy prices in Portugal are very expensive when compared to other European countries. For a two bedroom apartment where two people live, you can expect to pay around 60€ in the summer months, and ~90€ in the winter.
This also depends on the type of contract you make. You can opt for an off-peak and peak time type of contract, and run the most costly appliances, like the washing machine, during off-peak hours.
Now, this is the trickiest part. Water providers differ from city to city, or region to region. In some places, the water service is public and managed by the local city council (Câmara Municipal), while in others it is managed by a private company. So when you move to your new area you must do your research on the water provider there.
For example, if you plan to live in the general North of Portugal, ‘Águas do Norte’ is most likely your supplier. However, if your home is in Porto or Braga, for instance, the supplier changes to ‘Águas do Porto’ and ‘Agere’, respectively. So it’s really case by case.
Nevertheless, the process itself shouldn’t be too difficult. In some cases, like ‘Águas do Porto’ and ‘EPAL’ (the Lisbon supplier), you can do it all online. If you bought or built a house, then you’ll probably need to get a metre installed – which is an in-person procedure, obviously.
As previously stated, water services differ greatly throughout the country, and so do the prices. If you need to install a metre, it’ll be around 50€, plus setting up a contract, which is around 40€. Even if you’re just renting, you’ll need to get the water contract on your home changed to your name, which also has a cost of ~30€.
Apart from this, water bills are usually not too expensive. The regular price for a couple in a two-bedroom is around 20€ to 30€. But you should definitely search for the rates in your area. For example, the Porto and Lisbon prices tables are easy to find.
More often than not, people get all their communication services under the same provider and contract, as it makes both the set up and the paying processes easier and cheaper. These are the major providers in Portugal:
All three of them offer different packages of varying prices. Your decision of provider and packages should be made based on:
You should check out the providers’ websites to see what works better for you. The most basic plan is around 20€ for a phone SIM card and service plus unlimited wi-fi in your home.
The process is also quite simple and the contract part can be done all through a phone call. As for the set-up, you arrange a date for the supplier’s technician to get the equipment installed in your home – it shouldn’t take too long and it’s generally “free” with any contract.
Buildings in Portugal aren’t insulated in general, so it gets very cold inside during the winter. You’ll definitely have to think about heating options. If you’re constructing your house from scratch, getting a fireplace, pellet stove (“fogão a lenha”) or underfloor heating are some great options. If your property is already built or you’re just renting, heaters and air conditioning are your best options. However, as stated before, they can really get your electricity bill up, so be aware and bring your coziest indoor clothing, pajamas and bedding.
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