The minister Ione Belarra, as the one who does not want the thing, caused a fire last Wednesday with indeterminate prospects, which was immediately joined by colleagues from United We Can and some other training minister. The head of Social Affairs, a position she inherited from Pablo Iglesias, decided to intervene at its own risk to watch over consumers for the electricity rate, something that did not exactly like the Government partners very much and, in particular, the fourth vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, in charge of the sector. Incidentally, he also involved the president of the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) in the fight, Cani Fernandez, and the electrical ones, that passed by there.
The party began with the dissemination of a tweet (“This Government has to be in a permanent state of listening to citizens and be empathetic with families who find it difficult to pay for electricity, we think it would be a good idea to advance the off-peak time to 10pm as Facua proposes and we will request it from the CNMC ”). Then, in effect, the also candidate to lead Podemos, sent an email to the CNMC in which she contributes, so that they can be evaluated, the allegations that the Facua consumer association presented in March to the project to change the charges of the electricity system that the Government was preparing for the new tariff system that came into effect on June 1. That is, something already known and evaluated by the ministry and the CNMC for the new rate.
Charges, together with tolls, are the regulated component of the rate and account for around 55% (32.6% charges and 22% tolls). Tolls are the costs of the transport and distribution networks, which are set by the CNMC; while the charges are those set by the Government associated with the promotion of renewables, extra-peninsular costs and annuities to pay the tariff deficit. The rest is the cost of energy and taxes.
The Belarra thread was followed without spending much time by the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzon, which did not want to be less (“From Unidas Podemos we are concerned about the prices of basic supplies for working families; we continue to push for all measures that lower the electricity bill”).
In between the two, the group’s spokesman, Pablo Echenique, added fuel to the fire. He spoke that the Executive must listen to the public and “if something has been done wrong, a progressive government must rectify.” To conclude, he announced that Podemos is working on a law to promote a public energy company to face the “electricity oligopoly”, the main cause in his opinion of the rise in prices.
Enough. New chapters are expected. But since two do not fight if one does not want to, at the moment it seems that Ribera prefers to follow that policy. Ecological Transition limited itself to saying that it has asked the supervisor (he sent a letter on Monday, that is, before the Belarra mess) to closely monitor the impact of the tariff, assess whether there are captive consumption and regressive effects, and monitor whether there are behaviors contrary to the good functioning of the market. Then, it will be seen. Among other things, because the electricity companies demand a clarifying answer.
For its part, the CNMC recalled that the design of tolls, which comes from one of the famous circulars that was so controversial in its day, has been carried out from a work of analysis of costs and demand profiles of the consumer groups. For the agency, it is not arbitrary or random, so it would be hasty to modify the time slots without a study of how the new scheme is working. And for that, it is too early. It is still not possible to assess whether citizens iron or put the washing machine on at dawn. What is reflected is that the real consumption curves hardly deviate from the programmed ones, except in cases that the experts attribute more to factors such as the rise in temperatures than to the change of system. The same occurs with the price increase in recent months, due to the price of CO2 and gas.
The new model of tolls also transposes European regulations. In the medium term, as new business models enter, such as self-consumption, there is greater penetration of renewable generation and storage systems, toll schemes will be adapted. In this way, an issue that has not been resolved for a long time would be resolved. Spain is the fifth country with the most expensive electricity in Europe and the correction has been expected for decades Consumer associations ask to reduce taxes, review the wholesale market and access rates and promote competition