Anyone understand the "Cuota" on water Bills?

Hi All,
I live in Granada, Andalucía where our water supplier is Emasagra (not sure if there is any other choice).
On the bi-monthly water bill there is an item "Cuota de Servicio" which, for the last 3 years always exceeds our use of water, every bill ! i.e. we pay more for the Cuota than we do for the water we use.
(This is unrelated to the sewerage, purification etc etc costs.)
Since ours is a new house I soon have to change from a "works" supply to a "domestic" contract and I wonder if anyone knows if there is a cost-saving approach to this cuota?
(I try to read the regulations! - There is a "Fixed Cuota" and a "Variable Cuota" but it is beyond me to understand it !)

There is a similar cuota (some people might say "scam") with electricity but I think I figured that one out when we changed to a domestic supply a month ago, if anyone wants I´ll share more details on the electrics.

Many thanks

Hi Simon,

Although I am in a different part of Spain, I understand that the "cuota fija" or just "cuota" is a fixed change no matter how much of the substance - water, gas, electricity - you use.  Any other variable "cuota" depends on the amount you use, usually over and above the fixed cuota.

And although scams occur in many aspects of Spanish life, I doubt very much if your utility suppliers are ripping you off; they have too much to lose and they are monitored by your regional government.

Best wishes,


Thank you Mark,
The purpose of the Cuota is to oblige you to pay for a service whether you use it or not.
This, in anybody´s terms, seems like the definition of a scam. It appears designed to negate consumer´s efforts to reduce energy (etc) use, and the benefits that flow from lower consumption.
It´s not like road tax, where I can choose not to own a vehicle, I am talking about essential services; I have to have water and electricity.

As I said, I already encountered the Cuota on electricity bills - here you can choose your cuota (although when I first contracted electricity I had no idea about it and therefore was "assigned" a cuota of a large number of Kw).
Seeing every bill with the highest cost attributed to the cuota, I subsequently found that I could change the cuota (for a fee) to a lower number of fixed Kw, resulting in a reduced bill and no change in the electric supply.
I don´t know if you are aware of the choice element in electricity quotas?
I would like to know if there is similar in water quotas.

I speak from experience when I say that I do not have confidence in these corporations - I have been stung before  by Emasagra for the sum of 1500€ (which was reduced to 1000€ by the intervention of the Defensor del Ciudadano), and I´m still very sore about that !

I also saw with my own eyes how much the Spanish authorities are (were?) in the pockets of the multinationals by the story of photvoltaic (solar) energy, which was stymied for 10 years because the Spanish (PP) government slapped a tax on it, wiping-out a whole sector of small businesses (domestic solar energy equipment retailers and installers) and effectively destroying the advance of Spain to world leader in this sector.
This law was revoked in April 2019 but the damage is done.

Forewarned is forearmed


Obviously I don't know anything about your situation but the system is very similar to the electric bills. There are some fixed charges which you can't do much about and some variable charges based on the usage which you can affect a little.

The fixed charge is paid according to the diameter of the pipes - fixed cuota I suppose  -and then there is a sort of penalty for using more water - so the first so many cubic metres of water are cheaper than the number of cubic metres - cuota variable. I suppose the idea of this cuota is that it is dissuasory. Use less water pay a lower rate.

Also the local authorities vary in how much they charge. Some survey by the Consumers association found that the water in Murcia was about two and a half times as expensive as the water in Oviedo.

So, in answer to your question as to how you can reduce the cuota the big answer would be to move to Oviedo and the smaller answer would be to wash less frequently and drink beer. You won't be able to change the fixed cuota if you stay where you are.

I don't like standing charges either but when I was party chatting to someone from Iberdrola about this, in regard to electric, he pointed out that most things have a "standing charge" - buy a pullover and it costs you whatever whether you wear it or not, with a car you have to buy it, tax it and insure it before it moves a single kilometre. I thought the argument was over simplistic but I do see his point to some degree - someone has to build the reservoirs, maintain the pumping stations, put in the mains, keep the water pure and distribute it to your house and I suppose it's legitimate that cost is spread amongst users. If you think that service users should pay the cost directly then you're into an argument which leads to the "I don't have any kids so why should I pay for education?"

Oh, I've only just seen your response to Mark. You may think you have to have water and electric but a large part of the world doesn't get it as easily as we do.

And you do have a choice. You can choose to disconnect from the mains and buy water in tanker loads and you can put up solar panels or windmills or whatever to produce electricity.  (As you say the Rajoy taxes have now been taken off but they never affected anyone who was completely off grid)

I think we can safely say, in the light of the last couple of posts, that there are officially authorised and approved "scams" about which we can sadly do nothing, and criminal scams about which the authorities, including the police, can do nothing because they can't catch the "cowboys" who perpetrate them.

It's worth saying the the locals too have to put up with both kinds of scams (not just we expats), and it is only the canniest of them who might occasionally catch up with an illegal scammer.

Just today I went to the Water Co to "darse de baja" (terminate) from the works supply and "darse de alta" (contract) for the acometida definitiva (consumer water supply).
They didn't offer me any choice as to the level of the "quota",  just they said that I am to expect an email tomorrow.
Fortunately the Water Co said I didn't need an engineer to check the installation (after 2 years of works' supply). Unlike the electricity company - I had tried to argue that we already had a perfectly satisfactory works supply of electricity to a new house which two electricians had certified,  but they said that because I was changing contract, an engineer had to check the installation anew, I can't remember how much it cost.

I'll keep this topic updated and thanks for your contributions!