Revolution of Electric Power
The same as in the rest of Europe and on American continent, second half of the 19th century meant a radical change in Spanish society. In Spain, more backward country than the rest of Europe, the coming of industrial electricity, which was used for the first time in Barcelona in 1873, was considered a real revolution in industry, transport and everyday life.
Previously, some scientific tests had been done in 1860 like the one in Seville, where a new electrical lighting with voltaic arc lamps was tested, and later on the experiment was repeated in during the April fair. Similar tests, but not so important, were done in 1875 at the fair in Almería. The greatest success in electric power development was produced thanks to hydraulic precipices and improvement of water turbines. Hydroelectric power started to replace coal or gas, although these would never disappear completely because they were used in thermal power stations as a valuable additional source of energy. Hydroelectric resources depended on rain. As there are many droughts in Spain, thermal power stations continued to be built for many years to come.
Creation of Electric Power Companies
Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, many electric power companies that used to produce and distribute electricity were opened. Some of the most important were Hidroeléctrica Ibérica, which was headquartered in Bilbao and created by Basque funds in 1901; the Sociedad Hidroeléctrica del Chorro in Málaga, opened in 1903; Hidroeléctrica Española, built in 1911, etc. The most important companies in the 1920s in Andalusia were Sevillana, Mengemor, Chorro and Fuerzas Motrices in the Lecrín Valley.
In the case of Málaga, Alumbrado (Lighting) Company and Calefacción por Gas (Gas Heating) had exclusive rights to lighting supply with the City Council, starting from 1852. The use of gas began during the best financial situation of the city. Nevertheless, electricity appliance was only established in Málaga at the end of the 19th century thanks to the coming and expansion of a German company and the appearance of a new English company. These two companies were producing power until the 1920s at the same time.
None of these happenings meant disappearing of gas as lighting or heating systems supply, considering that gas and electricity were used at the same time for ages. From the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, electric light was considered to be a luxury.
Despite all that, Málaga was the first on the list of Andalusian cities that used electric power. In 1893, it had six thermal power stations with generating potential of 90 CV, while Córdoba, Cádiz and Jaen had two power stations; Almería, Seville and Granada one, and there was none of them in Huelva.
This electric power generating systems that used thermal and steam power stations existed in Málaga until the 1920s.
A full-scale coming of hydroelectric power in 1903, brought grater growth because electricity became more affordable and common.