Changing power provider in Portugal

The implementation of a deregulated energy market in Portugal, in which companies will define prices, starting in 2013, means that the Entidade Reguladora dos Serviços Energéticos (ERSE) will no longer be regulating tariffs, in a process where around five million domestic consumers will have to choose their providers from the liberalised market over a period of time.

During the next three years, ERSE will continue to establish the so-called transitional tariffs, which will be updated every three months until 2015, when the Portuguese electricity market will be fully liberalised.

The transitional tariffs will be a little higher than the prices established by companies to stimulate change to private power providers.

The government also announced in 2012 that the ERSE would continue recommending energy tariffs to ensure that the liberalised market has a ‘tariff reference’ and to prevent “disproportionate price increases”, while a tariff hike for 2013 is expected, in response to the increasing cost of producing energy (see pages 2 and 3).

This transition to a deregulated energy market is part of the agreement between the Portuguese government and the Troika to keep the country’s budget deficit under control.

The process to change between power providers is managed by the provider the consumer chooses to establish a contract, on request by the consumer and without any charges for the latter. According to the ERSE website, in the future these processes will be managed by the Operador Logístico de Mudança de Comercializador, an entity which is still not functioning.

More information about power supply and power operators in Portugal is available in the Algarve Resident edition of October 19, 2012. Go to our website (, search for ERSE, and click on the story ‘Energy in English’, where downloadable files in English explain the process of changing energy provider.