Electricity

Find out about electricity suppliers in Portugal and how to get connected...

Portugal's standard electricity supply is 220 Volts (V), 50 Hertz (Hz) AC although in some older properties it may still be possible to find a 110 Volts supply or a combination of the two.

In some remote areas such as the Serra da Estrela and Trás-os-Montes there are still some isolated rural communities without mains electricity supply using generators.

Electricity Suppliers

Consumers can choose from a number of market suppliers. The Government Public service website has information on connecting to an electricity supplier. 

Existing EDP customers have until the end of 2015 to switch to another supplier. During this period, the tariffs can be changed quarterly. The switch is free of charge, 

The ERSE (Portuguese Energy Services Regulatory Authority) regulates the electricity sector and can advise consumers on electricity contracts.

Energy suppliers on the market

ERSE has an up to date list with electricity suppliers and their contact details

To transfer or set up a new contract

If taking over the utilities from a previous owner or tenant, check that the person has cancelled their contract. If not, it will be necessary to operate a transfer (transferência) of accounts. This is generally easier than setting up a new account.

The previous owner or tenant should provide copies of their bills for utilities and it is advisable to go through the meter readings together to verify that there are no extra charges incurred since the latest bills.

The following information may be needed:

  • Passport or Identity Card (Passaporte e Bilhete de Identidade)
  • The client name, address, and number of the previous occupier/tenant (if applicable)
  • Tax Number (Número Fiscal de Contribuinte) of the account holder if it is being set up by a private individual, or IVA card (Numero Fiscal de Contribuinte de Empresas) in the case of a company
  • Residency card (Cartão de Residência)
  • The amount of power required (From 1.15 Kw to 41 Kw)
  • The current reading of the meter (Leitura do Contador)
  • Bank details if direct debit is to be made via a bank
  • The address to which the bills should be sent
  • The address to which the contract should be sent

Meter-reading, bill paying, and disconnection

The energy supplier sends out an estimated bill (factura) every two months, however, it is often possible to pay monthly by direct debit. The bill will show the account number (Número de Conta), the amount due (Valor Pagável), and the date it should be paid by (Pagável até). Bills can be sent directly to an email or accessed through the customer's online account with the supplier where applicable.

Some suppliers allow customers to enter their monthly metre readings and only pay for the energy used, either by Direct Debit (that will adjust according to your energy usage) or manually each time.

Some new apartment blocks are furnished with a remote electronic counter which enables remote reading. It also means that the electricity supply can be disconnected remotely when an overdue bill remains unpaid. Before complete disconnection, the amount of electricity supplied is reduced for a period to enable payment before complete disconnection. During this reduced power period, the supply trips out when larger appliances are used. There is a reconnection fee to re-establish normal supply once the bill has been paid and this is charged on the next bill.

To cancel a contract

Cancellation must be done in writing by email, letter, or online.

Useful terms

Portuguese English
Como contratar How to get a contract
Facturação Bills
Como pagar How to pay bills
Leituras Meter readings
Lojas e Agentes Shops and Agents
Pedidos de Fornecimento de Energia Eléctrica Getting an electric supply
Alterar Contrato Alter contract details

Plugs and Adapters

Portugal uses the standard European two-pin plug and socket.

All domestic goods purchased in Portugal will have a compatible two-pin plug attached. For appliances with foreign plugs, adapters (Adaptador) can be bought or the plug can be changed. Adapters are available at most supermarkets, airports, some hotels, and electrical goods shops. DIY stores also stock them.

Appliances from the United States

It is not recommended to bring electrical appliances with a motor from the USA (appliances such as refrigerators, electric can openers, stereos). The voltage in the US is 110 and 60 hertz, while in Portugal it is 220 volts and 50 hertz. The appliances would need a transformer.

If using a US-bought transformer, the following adaptor may be required: a Ficha Tripla Plana or Ficha Plana available at stores such as Continente.

Light Bulbs

The standard light bulb fitting in Portugal is a screw or Edison fitting.

Power Cuts

Portugal operates a power rating system (Potência Instalada) where a household or the electricity company calculates its average usage and the supply is based on this. This can mean that using a washing machine, microwave, and toaster or kettle at the same time will cause the power to cut out in some older properties or households with a lower rating system.

It is worth knowing that during peak electricity usage periods and storms the electricity supply may be cut; this happens regularly in many regions. It may be worth considering installing a generator or UPS system for computers.

A power surge protector is also recommended to protect appliances (computers, TVs, fax machines) when the power supply is resumed.