It SEEMS that after a lifetime of working off "builder’s electricity" we’re now in the hands of the electricity board (we THINK). I had expected "proper mains" but when we got here we were disappointed to find that the lights seemed to be bobbing up and down even more so than usual. This morning I ran some tests… off-load the mains coming to our place is around 220v – which is fine.. BUT – run a single standard kettle and the mains voltage immediately drops to under 200v and stays there.
Indeed, typically resistive elements as you find in kettles take MORE juice as they get up to temperature and though my digital meter isn’t well suited to instant readings I can quite safely say the power drops to 185v or lower as the kettle turns on. As you can imagine, this means the hot-tub and anything else heavy duty is a no-no.
I did some quick tests as I now have a decent meter here… with only TWO domestic items turned on, apart from (efficient) lights, it is clear that the power would not support more than one group of us here at once and is not even good enough for that!! This is MUCH worse than it was in February and before.
In the above example the effect is obvious – with the vacuum running, turning the Microwave on causes the vacuum to slow down dramatically. Left for any length of time this would cause damage. If you’re local and reading this – this WILL damage some domestic equipment so it is vital we sort this out ASAP. Our lack of Spanish makes it difficult to argue with electricity company hence this info for anyone who wants to have a go. Mains voltage would normally be expected to be in the range of 210 to 240v but when it starts dipping down to 170 or so – you’re looking at heaters being useless and motors getting into dangerous ground.
Update 07/06/2012 – the lights continue to vary and on several occasions during the last 2 days the power has momentarily failed altogether just for a second – just enough to reset various devices… this is really completely unacceptable as a service.